Mining Claim Maintenance Fee Refund Class Action

Mining Fee Refund FAQs

  1. What is this lawsuit about?
  2. What is a Class Action and who is involved?
  3. Why is this lawsuit a class action?
  4. Am I a part of this Class Action?
  5. Who should I contact if I am not sure if I can be part of the Class Action?
  6. How can I join the Class Action?
  7. What happens once I join this Class Action?
  8. What happens if I do not join this Class Action?
  9. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
  10. How will the lawyer be paid?
  11. Does the Court’s ruling apply to annual claim maintenance fees paid for other assessment years?
  12. If I opt-in to the Class Action can I get a refund of annual claim maintenance fees that I paid for the 2013 assessment year for unpatented lode mining claims, mill sites, and tunnel sites located on or after August 10, 1993?
  13. If I opt-in to the Class Action can I get a refund of annual claim maintenance fees that I paid for placer mining claims for the 2013 assessment year?
  14. What if the annual claim maintenance fee payment I made for the 2013 assessment year contains funds to cover annual claim maintenance fees for other claims and sites?
  15. What if I acquired the mining claim after the 2013 maintenance fee was paid?
  16. What if I no longer hold the mining claim, but was the holder at the time the 2013 maintenance fee was paid?
  17. What if I hold the claim, but someone else paid the 2013 maintenance fee?
  18. What if I opt-in to the Class and then choose to withdraw from the Class?
  19. Are more details available?
  1. What is this lawsuit about?

    This lawsuit was brought by Silver Buckle Mines, Inc. claiming the annual claim maintenance fee paid by class members for the 2013 assessment year was illegal.  The court has determined that plaintiff is entitled to recover the 2013 maintenance fee because payment was made pursuant to regulations promulgated in violation of BLM’s statutory authority as conferred by Congress.

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  2. What is a Class Action and who is involved?

    In a class action lawsuit, one or more “Class Representatives” (in this case Silver Buckle Mines, Inc.) sue on behalf of others who have similar claims.  The other mining claim holders who “opt-in” are called a “Class” or “Class Members.”  The United States is called “defendant.”  In a class action in the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., one court resolves the issues for Class Members who choose to join the “Class” and “opt-in” to the lawsuit.

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  3. Why is this lawsuit a class action?

    The Court decided that this lawsuit can be a class action because it meets the requirements of Rule 23 of the Rules of the United States Court of Federal Claims, which governs class actions in that court.  Specifically, the court found that:

      • That potential Class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable;
      • There are questions of law or fact common to the Class;
      • The Class Representative’s claims are typical of the claims of the Class;
      • The Class Representative and its Class Counsel, Frank R. Siderius, will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the Class;
      • This class action will be more efficient than having many individual lawsuits.

    For more information, see the Court’s Orders, which are available on the Court Document page.

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    • Am I a part of this Class Action?

      The Court decided that the Class consists of:

      "With respect to an unpatented lode mining claim, unpatented mill site, or unpatented tunnel site located pursuant to the mining laws of the United States prior to August 10, 1993, for which a claim maintenance fee for such claim or site for the 2013 assessment year was timely paid to the United States Secretary of the Interior, each and every person who, at the time of such payment, was the holder of all or any part of such claim or site, unless a waiver under 30 U.S.C. § 28f(d) pertaining to the claim or site was in place for the 2013 assessment year."

      You have received notification of this lawsuit because you have been identified as a potential Class Member.  You will need to decide whether you wish to be included in this Class Action.  You are not included in the class unless and until you fill out and submit the “Class Action Opt-In Claim Form” which can be completed on the Opt-In Filing page, and is also available on the website for download the Opt-In Form or by calling 866-673-9650 to request that a form be mailed directly to you.  The Rules of the Court require that Class Members choose to “opt-in” to this class action.  If you fit the description in the next section, you may opt-in and join this Class Action.  Upon your request the Court may permit your withdrawal from the Class after you have requested inclusion.  If you choose to do nothing and to be excluded from the Class, you will be forever excluded from receiving any payment from this lawsuit.

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    • Who should I contact if I am not sure if I can be part of the Class Action?

      If you are not sure whether you can be included in this Class Action, you can contact the independent Claims Administrator in the case by toll free telephone at 866-673-9650 or by mail at Mining claim Maintenance Fee Refund Class Action, c/o KCC LLC, P.O. Box 404000, Louisville, KY 40233-4000.You also may contact Class Counsel: Frank R. Siderius, 500 Union Street, Suite 847, Seattle, WA 98101, Tel. 206-624-2800; franks@sidlon.com.  Do not contact BLM or the court.

      

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    • How can I join the Class Action?

      You can either submit your “Opt-In Claim Form” directly online now with the independent Claims Administrator on the Opt-In Filing page, or you can download and print out the Opt-In Claim Form  and mail it directly to the Administrator, or you can call 866-673-9650 toll free to obtain a copy of the form mailed directly to you which you can send back by mail.  The quickest, easiest, and most cost effective way to submit your form is to do so now directly by the Internet through this website. If you submit your form by the Internet on the website, you must do so no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, January 18, 2019.If you submit your form by mail it must be postmarked no later than January 18, 2019.  DO NOT DELAY.

      The name and address of the independent Claims Administrator is:

      Mining Claim Maintenance Fee Refund Class Action

      c/o KCC LLC

      P.O. Box 404000

      Louisville, KY 40233-4000

      The Administrator’s email address is: info@miningfeerefundclassaction.com.

      If you mail your “Opt-In Claim Form”, you must put the appropriate amount of postage stamps on the envelope in order to file your claim.  If you mail your “opt-in claim form” and it is not postmarked by January 18, 2019, you will be permanently excluded from the Class in this case and you will not be able to recover any payment from this case forever.

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    • What happens once I join this Class Action?

      As a member of the Class your rights in this litigation will be represented by the Class Representative and Class Counsel. You will receive the benefit of, and be bound by, all rulings, orders, or judgment entered or any settlement approved by the Court. Upon your request the Court may permit your withdrawal from the Class after you have requested inclusion.

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    • What happens if I do not join this Class Action?

      If you do not timely submit an “Opt-In Claim Form” directly by the Internet no later than no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, January 18, 2019, or by mail postmarked on or before January 18, 2019, you will be barred from participating as a Class Member in this case and you will not receive any monetary recovery.  However, you retain the right to sue the federal government on your own about the same legal claims that have been alleged in this lawsuit. If you decide to pursue your claim independently, outside this class action, you are encouraged to do so immediately and consult with your personal attorney immediately because certain statutes of limitations may bar or limit your claims. You are entitled to enter an appearance in this matter through private counsel if you desire.If you choose to hire your own lawyer, you will personally have to pay that lawyer.

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    • Do I have a lawyer in this case?

      The Court decided that Frank R. Siderius of the firm Siderius, Lonergan & Martin, LLP in Seattle, Washington is qualified to represent you and all Class Members.  He is called “Class Counsel.” Mr. Siderius is experienced in handling class action lawsuits. If you choose to submit an “Opt-In Claim Form,” you will have agreed to legal representation by Mr. Siderius in this case. Address all your questions to either the Claims Administrator or Mr. Siderius at the contact information set forth herein. The Court has requested that you do not call or write the United States Court of Federal Claims or the Clerk of the Court.  Also do not call or write to BLM.

      Class Counsel:                                               Claims Administrator:

      Frank R. Siderius                                            Mining Claim Maintenance Fee Refund Class Action

      Siderius, Lonergan & Martin, LLP                   c/o KCC LLC

      500 Union Street, Suite 847                            P.O. Box 404000

      Seattle, WA 98101                                           Louisville, KY 40233-4000

      Tel:  206/624-2800                                         Tel: 866-673-9650

      You do not need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel is working on your behalf. But, you are permitted to hire your own lawyer if you would like to do so. For example, you can ask him or her to appear in Court for you if you want someone other than Class Counsel to speak for you.However, if you choose to hire your own lawyer, you will personally have to pay that lawyer.

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    • How will the lawyer be paid?

      Class Counsel will ask the Court for his fees and expenses.  You will not have to pay these fees and expenses directly. If the Court grants Class Counsel’s request, the fees and expenses would either be deducted from any money obtained for the Class, and/or paid by the United States. If the Class Counsel’s fees and expenses are paid out of the money obtained for the Class, there will be a reduction in the amount available for distribution to Class Members, and it may reduce the amount of money you may be awarded. However, if you choose to hire your own lawyer, you will personally have to pay your own lawyer.

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    • Does the Court’s ruling apply to annual claim maintenance fees paid for other assessment years?

      No.  The Court’s ruling only applies to annual claim maintenance fees timely paid for the 2013 assessment year. In 2013 Congress amended the statutory authority for the collection of annual claim maintenance fees and the current language authorizes collection of maintenance fees for unpatented lode claims, mill sites, and tunnel sites located “before, on, or after August 10, 1993”.

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    • If I opt-in to the Class Action can I get a refund of annual claim maintenance fees that I paid for the 2013 assessment year for unpatented lode mining claims, mill sites, and tunnel sites located on or after August 10, 1993?

      No.  The Court’s ruling does not apply to annual claim maintenance fees for unpatented lode claims, mill sites, and tunnel sites that were located on or after August 10, 1993.

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    • If I opt-in to the Class Action can I get a refund of annual claim maintenance fees that I paid for placer mining claims for the 2013 assessment year?

      No.  The Court’s ruling does not apply to annual claim maintenance fees for placer mining claims.

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    • What if the annual claim maintenance fee payment I made for the 2013 assessment year contains funds to cover annual claim maintenance fees for other claims and sites?

      Only the portion of your payment related to annual claim maintenance fees for unpatented lode claims, mill sites, and tunnel sites located prior to August 10, 1993 is eligible to be refunded.

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    • What if I acquired the mining claim after the 2013 maintenance fee was paid?

      Only the holder at the time of fee payment is potentially eligible to receive a refund.

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    • What if I no longer hold the mining claim, but was the holder at the time the 2013 maintenance fee was paid?

      The holder at the time of fee payment is potentially eligible to receive a refund.

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    • What if I hold the claim, but someone else paid the 2013 maintenance fee?

      In such instances, the holder at the time of fee payment may be eligible for a refund.

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    • What if I opt-in to the Class and then choose to withdraw from the Class?

      The Court may permit withdrawal from the Class of a Class Member who initially requested inclusion in the Class.  To do so, you must contact KCC LLC (claims administrator), Mr. Siderius (class counsel), or your own attorney (if you have one).  Do not contact BLM or the court.

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    • Are more details available?

      For more information about this lawsuit, you may view Court Documents from the website, or you can contact the Claims Administrator at 866-673-9650 or by mail at:

      Mining Claim Maintenance Fee Refund Class Action Claims Administrator

      c/o KCC LLC

      P.O. Box 404000

      Louisville, KY  40233-4000

       

      THE COURT HAS INSTRUCTED THAT YOU SHOULD NOT CONTACT THE CLERK’S OFFICE BY TELEPHONE OR THE MAIL FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CASE.  ALSO DO NOT WRITE OR CALL BLM.

      The pleadings and other records in this lawsuit may be examined at any time during regular business hours at the Office of the Clerk of the United States Court of Federal Claims.  The Court’s address is:

      United States Court of Federal Claims

      717 Madison Place NW

      Washington, D.C.  20005

      

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