2007 Federal Courts Cases

December

Osage Nation v. State of Oklahoma Ex Rel. Oklahoma Tax Commission
260 Fed.Appx. 13
No. 03-5162
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, December 26, 2007
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

Subjects: Taxation -- Law and legislation -- Oklahoma -- Application -- Osage Tribe, Oklahoma -- Members; Income tax -- Osage Tribe, Oklahoma -- Members -- Oklahoma -- Osage County; Indian Country (Okla.) -- Defined; Osage Tribe, Oklahoma -- Officials and employees -- Taxation -- Oklahoma.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe sued the State of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Tax Commission, and individual members of the Tax Commission in their official capacities, seeking to enjoin the assessment of income tax on tribal members employed by the tribe and residing in a county. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma denied a defense motion to dismiss, and defendants appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Terrence L. O'Brien, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) district court improperly conflated the distinct concepts of subject matter jurisdiction and sovereign immunity, but
(2) under the Ex parte Young exception to Eleventh Amendment immunity, the tribe could proceed against individual members of the Commission.
Affirmed in part and reversed in part.

United States v. Allen Flying By
511 F.3d 773
No. 07-1076
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, December 26, 2007

Subjects: Evidence (Law); Testimony; Sentences (Criminal procedure); Embezzlement -- Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North & South Dakota -- Officials and employees.

*Synopsis: Tribal council representative was convicted of embezzlement and theft from an Indian tribal organization, following jury trial in the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, Charles B. Kornmann, J. Representative appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Murphy, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) convictions were supported by sufficient evidence;
(2) District Court did not abuse its discretion in overruling representative's objection to judge's question of witness as to whether witness's testimony at plea hearing was true;
(3) District Court did not commit plain error in questioning witnesses, or in asking witness whether she wanted to consult with her attorney; and
(4) sentence of 33 months was not excessive.
Affirmed.

United States v. Alpine Land & Reservoir Company
510 F.3d 1035
No. 06-17375
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, December 7, 2007

Subjects: Newlands Project (U.S.); Nevada. State Engineer; Water rights -- Paiute-Shoshone Tribe of the Fallon Reservation and Colony, Nevada; Water rights -- Nevada; Water transfer -- Nevada; Water rights -- Abandonment -- Nevada.

*Synopsis: United States and Indian tribe sought judicial review of decision of Nevada State Engineer that largely granted applications of landowners in Newlands Reclamation Project to transfer water rights between different parcels of property. The United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Howard D. McKibben, J., affirmed State Engineer's decision, and its opinion was affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded at 291 F.3d 1062, and again at 340 F.3d 903. On remand, the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Robert C. Jones, J., affirmed State Engineer's decision, and tribe appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Fernandez, Circuit Judge: held that:
(1) substantial evidence supported State Engineer's determination that landowners did not abandon their water rights as to certain parcels; but
(2) landowners forfeited their water rights in other parcels; and
(3) remand was warranted for State Engineer to determine whether a successive five-year period passed without a thwarted attempt to transfer water rights during that period as to certain parcels.
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Company v. Vaughn
509 F.3d 1085
No. 05-16755
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, December 7, 2007

Subjects: Taxation -- Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad -- Hualapai Indian Tribe of the Hualapai Indian Reservation; Railroads -- Right of way -- Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad; Railroad accidents -- Hualapai Indian Tribe of the Hualapai Indian Reservation, Arizona.

*Synopsis: Railroad brought suit against two officials in Hualapai Indian Tribe, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against their efforts to enforce or collect the Tribe's possessory interest tax against railroad for use of its right-of-way through the reservation. The United States District Court for the District of Arizona, Earl H. Carroll, J., denied Tribe's motion to dismiss. Tribe sought interlocutory appeal.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Tallman, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) on a matter of first impression, denial of Tribe's sovereign immunity claim was appealable on an interlocutory basis as a collateral order;
(2) Tribal official allegedly responsible for administration and collection of challenged tax was not immune from suit;
(3)Tribal Chairman was immune from suit; and
(4) it would not exercise pendent appellate jurisdiction over Tribe's remaining claims.
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and dismissed in part.

Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System v. McClellan
508 F.3d 1243
No. 05-16386
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, December 3, 2007

Subjects: United States. Indian Health Care Improvement Act; Medicare; Public contracts ? United States; Indians of North America -- Medical care; United States. Indian Health Service.

*Synopsis: State brought action against administrator of federal Medicaid program, seeking reimbursement for all health care services provided to Medicaid-eligible Native Americans under the referral agreements between health care service providers and the Indian Health Service (IHS). The United States District Court for the District of Arizona, Paul G. Rosenblatt, J., granted summary judgment in favor of state. Federal administrator appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Ikuta, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) Indian Health Care Improvement Act's 100 percent reimbursement provision was ambiguous;
(2) ambiguity was not clarified by legislative history of Act; and
(3) Act's 100 percent reimbursement provision was limited to those services received through an IHS facility which offered, was responsible for, and billed Medicaid for the services provided. Reversed and remanded.

Related News Stories: State loses case over Indian Health Care Improvement Act (Indianz.com) 12/4/07

Yankton Sioux Tribe v. Podhradsky
529 F.Supp.2d 1040
No. CIV 98-4042
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division, December 19, 2007

Subjects: Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. -- Land tenure; Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. -- Boundaries; Trust lands -- Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota.

*Synopsis: Following remand, 522 U.S. 329, 118 S.Ct. 789, 139 L.Ed.2d 773, of Indian tribe's action challenging State of South Dakota's jurisdiction over lands that once fell within reservation boundaries, action was consolidated with tribe's action challenging State criminal jurisdiction over acts of tribal members on nonceded land within original reservation boundaries. The District Court, 14 F.Supp.2d 1135, entered judgment for tribe, and appeal was taken. The Court of Appeals, 188 F.3d 1010, ruling that reservation had not been disestablished but had been diminished by loss of certain lands, remanded for a determination of the boundaries of the reservation.

*Holding: The United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, Lawrence L. Piersol, J., held that:
(1) land allotted to individual Indians that remained held in trust by the federal government was ?Indian country? for purposes of statute providing for federal court jurisdiction over certain offenses committed within Indian country;
(2) land within the original exterior boundaries of reservation and subsequently taken into trust by the U.S. was ?Indian country?;
(3) to extent previously-allotted land within original boundaries of reservation was owned in fee by Indians and had never passed out of Indian hands, that land was ?Indian country?; and
(4) to extent land held in trust for Indians was not ?reservation? land, such land would nevertheless qualify as Indian country under provision relating to dependent Indian communities.
Ordered accordingly.

Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation v. Norton
527 F.Supp.2d 130
Civil Action Nos. 02-0035 (JR), 02-0040(JR), 02-0253(JR), 02-0254(JR), 02- 0276(JR), 03-1603(JR), 04-0283(JR), 04-0900(JR), 04-0901(JR), 04-1126(JR), 05- 2471(JR), 05-2491(JR), 05-2492(JR), 05-2493(JR), 05-2495(JR), 05-2496(JR), 05- 2500(JR), 06-1897(JR), 06-1898(JR), 06-1899(JR), 06-1902(JR), 06-2161(JR), 06- 2162(JR), 06-2163(JR), 06-2164(JR), 06-2206(JR), 06-2212(JR), 06-2236(JR), 06- 2239(JR), 06-2240(JR), 06-2241(JR), 06-2242(JR), 06-2245(JR), 06-2247(JR), 06- 2249(JR), 06-2250(JR), 06-2254(JR)
United States District Court, District of Columbia, December 19, 2007

Subjects: Tribal trust funds -- United States -- Auditing; Tribal trust funds -- United States -- Management; Federal-Indian trust relationship; Fiduciary accountability -- United States; Breach of contract -- United States; Breach of trust -- United States; Trusts and trustees -- Administration; Trusts and trustees -- Accounting; Class actions (Civil procedure) -- United States.

*Synopsis: In 37 actions brought by various Indian tribes against the United States, alleging accounting and mismanagement of assets and funds held in trust by the United States, Government moved for a six-month remand and stay of litigation.

*Holding: On consolidation of cases, the District Court, James Robertson, J., held that remand and stay of litigation was not warranted.
Motion denied.

Tohono O'odham Nation v. United States
79 Fed.Cl. 645
No. 06-944L
United States Court of Federal Claims, December 19, 2007

Subjects: Tribal trust funds -- Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona; Breach of trust -- United States; Trusts and trustees -- United States; Jurisdiction; Natural resources -- Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona -- Royalties.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought suit against the United States alleging that the government breached its fiduciary duties as trustee of various funds and property owned by the tribe. Defendant moved to dismiss.

*Holding: The United States Court of Federal Claims, Bruggink, J., held that statute divesting the Court of Federal Claims of jurisdiction to hear claims that are already pending in another court was applicable to preclude jurisdiction over suit.
Motion granted.

County of Amador, California v. United States Department of the Interior
2007 WL 4390499
No. CIV. S-07-527 LKK/GGH
United States District Court, E.D. California, December 13, 2007

Subjects: Land into trust -- California -- Amador County; Land into trust -- Ione Band of Miwok Indians of California; Gambling on Indian reservations -- California; Indian gaming -- Ione Band of Miwok Indians of California; Casinos -- Design and construction -- Ione Band of Miwok Indians of California; United States. Administrative Procedure Act.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Plaintiff Amador County has brought the present action challenging defendant U.S. Department of Interior's legal opinion that, if taken into trust by the federal government, a parcel of land in Amador County will be eligible for gaming operations. The Ione Band of Miwok Indians, who requested that the land be taken into federal trust, has intervened as a defendant. Pending before the court are two motions to dismiss, one filed by the federal defendants and another by Ione, both of which argue that the Department of Interior's opinion is not final agency action under the Administrative Procedures Act and is thus unreviewable. As explained below, because the opinion will have no effect unless and until the federal government makes the decision to take the land into trust, the court grants the motions to dismiss.

*Holding: not yet available

Barrett v. United States
2007 WL 4303050
No. CIV-06-0968-HE
United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma, December 5, 2007

Subjects: Income tax -- Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Oklahoma -- Members; United States. Internal Revenue Service; Tribal trust funds -- Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Oklahoma; Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Oklahoma -- Officials and employees -- Salaries.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The case presents two issues: whether the compensation Barrett received in the year 2001, as the Tribe's Chairman, is taxable income to him and, if so, whether the plaintiffs are liable for the penalty assessed pursuant to 26 U.S.C. ? 6662. While the plaintiffs acknowledge that American Indians, as U.S. citizens, generally are subject to the federal income tax, they claim the compensation is not taxable income because the source of the funds used to pay Barrett was trust fund monies previously awarded by the Indian Claims Commission to the Tribe. The plaintiffs assert that those funds ?have been impressed with tax exemption to their recipients,? and ?[t]he ?Tribe, as a governmental act, has made the conscious decision to pay the Chairman from these funds.?

*Holding: not yet available

November

Alvarado v. Table Mountain Rancheria
509 F.3d 1008
No. 06-15351
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, November 29, 2007

Subjects: Table Mountain Rancheria of California -- Membership; Jurisdiction -- United States; Sovereign immunity -- Table Mountain Rancheria of California; United States. California Rancheria Termination Act of 1958; Table Mountain Rancheria of California -- Members -- Legal status, laws, etc.; Indian land transfers -- Table Mountain Rancheria of California.

*Synopsis: Unsuccessful petitioners for admission to Table Mountain Rancheria (TMR) Indian tribe filed suit against TMR, several tribal members, former class representatives for prior settled class action that regained TMR Indian status under federal law, Secretary of Interior, and United States, claiming breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing and breach of fiduciary duty, and seeking declaratory and injunctive relief compelling admission as tribal members. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Marilyn H. Patel, J., 2005 WL 1806368, dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Alarc?n, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) complaint was not collateral attack on prior settlement;
(2) ancillary jurisdiction did lie over claims;
(3) original jurisdiction did not lie over claims naming United States as defendant;
(4) petitioners failed to exhaust claims pursuant to Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA); and
(5) original jurisdiction did not lie under Administrative Procedure Act (APA) nor supplemental jurisdiction.
Affirmed.

Longoria v. Dretke
507 F.3d 898
No. 06-10676
United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, November 9, 2007

Subjects: Freedom of religion; Indian prisoners -- Texas; Long hair; Texas. Dept. of Criminal Justice; United States. Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000; Indians of North America -- Rites and ceremonies; Policies and institutions.

*Synopsis: Prisoner brought pro se action against prison officials, claiming his right to exercise his religion was denied when they denied him permission to grow his hair. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Sam R. Cummings, J., dismissed action. Prisoner appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, held that:
(1) prisoner abandoned any claim on appeal that his rights under the free exercise clause of the First Amendment were violated;
(2) prison's grooming policy did not violate Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA); and
(3) prison grooming policy did not violate equal protection.
Affirmed.

Fidelity Exploration and Production Company v. United States
506 F.3d 1182
No. 06-35307
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, November 6, 2007

Subjects: Oil and gas leases -- Fidelity Exploration & Production Co.. Quiet title actions -- River channels -- Tongue River Watershed (Wyo. and Mont.); Oil and gas leases -- Montana; Trusts and trustees -- United States; Land tenure -- Northern Cheyenne Tribe of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, Montana.

*Synopsis: Oil and gas lessee brought action against United States under Quiet Title Act (QTA), seeking to quiet title to portion of bed of Tongue River, which United States claimed as trustee for Northern Cheyenne Indian Tribe. The United States District Court for the District of Montana, Richard F. Cebull, J. dismissed action. Lessee appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Rymer, Circuit Judge, held that statute of limitations on lessee's claim began to run no later than 1926, when Act of Congress recognized middle channel of River as eastern boundary of Northern Cheyenne Reservation.
Affirmed.

Vanzandt v. Fish and Wildlife Service
524 F.Supp.2d 239
No. 05-CV-6093 CJS
United States District Court, W.D. New York, November 29, 2007

Subjects: United States. Federal Tort Claims Act; United States. Fish and Wildlife Service; United States. Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act; Searches and seizures.

*Synopsis: Plaintiff brought action under Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) alleging that Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) agents abused search warrant in order to steal historical objects from her family's private collection. FWS and its agents moved for summary judgment.

*Holding: The District Court, Siragusa, J., held that:
(1) plaintiff raised viable claim for abuse of criminal process;
(2) agent was not entitled to qualified immunity; and
(3) fact issues remained as to whether agents stole objects.
Motion denied.

Gristede's Foods, Inc. v. Unkechauge Nation
532 F.Supp.2d 439
No. 06-CV-1260 (CBA)
United States District Court, E.D. New York, November 28, 2007

Subjects: United States. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act; Cigarettes ? Sales -- Taxation; Unkechauge Nation; Shinnecock Indian Nation (N.Y.); Non-members of a tribe.

*Synopsis: Store owner brought action under Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), Lanham Act, and state law alleging that Indian tribes, tribal members, and businesses engaged in unauthorized sale of untaxed cigarettes to non-tribe members. Defendants moved to dismiss.

*Holding: The District Court, Amon, J., held that:
(1) connection between vendor's injury and tribes' alleged sale of untaxed cigarettes was too attenuated to sustain civil RICO claim;
(2) dismissal of Lanham Act false advertising claims was not warranted; and
(3) vendor had standing to assert claims under state consumer protection statutes.
Motions granted in part and denied in part.

Whitetail v. Spirit Lake Tribal Council
2007 WL 4233490
Civil File No. 2:07-cv-42
United States District Court, D. North Dakota, Northeastern Division, November 28, 2007

Subjects: Habeas corpus; Detention of persons -- Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota; Law -- Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota.

*Synopsis: Writs of habeas corpus are available in federal court to test the legality of detention ordered by an Indian tribe. 25 U.S.C. ? 1303. However, the tribal exhaustion doctrine ?favors exhaustion of available remedies in tribal court before a collateral or parallel federal court action may proceed.? Gaming World Intern., Ltd. v. White Earth Band of Chippewa Indians, 317 F.3d 840, 849 (8th Cir.2003). This requirement is a matter of comity but has some flexibility, Necklace v. Tribal Court of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, 554 F.2d 845, 846 (8th Cir.1977), and is ?prudential, rather than jurisdictional.? Gaming World, 317 F.3d at 849.

*Holding: not yet available

Rosales v. United States
2007 WL 4233060
No. 07cv0624
United States District Court, S.D. California, November 28, 2007

Subjects: Casinos -- Design and construction -- Jamul Indian Village of California; Burial sites -- Jamul Indian Village of California; United States. Native American Graves and Repatriation Act; Contested elections -- Jamul Indian Village of California; Constitutions -- Jamul Indian Village of California; Indian blood quantum -- Jamul Indian Village of California; United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs; United States. Indian Reorganization Act; United States. Administrative Procedure Act.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Plaintiffs bring this action against the federal government for violations of NAGPRA. Plaintiffs request the Court stop construction activities on three pieces of land known as Parcels 04, 05, and 06. Plaintiffs allege they know human remains and associated items are located on those parcels. Plaintiffs allege ?grading, excavation, demolition, operation of heavy equipment, moving dirt and/or gravel, and other construction activities? are presently occurring on the land, ?thereby mutilating, disinterring, removing, excavating, and otherwise disturbing the Native Americans [sic] human remains? and associated items. Plaintiffs and defendants agree Parcel 05 is tribal land for the purposes of NAGPRA and title to Parcel 06 is held by the Catholic Diocese.

*Holding: not yet available

Lummi Indian Nation v. State of Washington
2007 WL 4190400
No. C01-0047Z
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Seattle, November 20, 2007

Subjects: Treaty of Point Elliott (1855); Groundwater -- Lummi Tribe of the Lummi Reservation, Washington; Reserved water rights -- Lummi Tribe of the Lummi Reservation, Washington; Indian reservations -- Defined; Indian Country (U.S.) -- Defined; Reserved water rights -- Defined.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) THIS MATTER comes before the Court on a Joint Motion to Approve Settlement brought by plaintiff United States, plaintiff-intervenor Lummi Nation, and defendants Washington State Department of Ecology (?Ecology?), Whatcom County, the Georgia Manor Water Association, the Harnden Island View Water Association, and the Sunset Water Association (collectively, the ?Water Associations?), and various property owners represented by Eugene Knapp of Barron Smith Daugert PLLC. By Order dated November 2, 2007, docket no. 1262, the Court conditionally approved the settlement and directed the parties to file the final Settlement Agreement. Having now reviewed the final Settlement Agreement, and all papers related thereto, the Court does hereby ORDER AND ADJUDGE:

*Holding: not yet available

All Mission Indian Housing Authority v. Magante
526 F.Supp.2d 1112
No. 06cv1678 BTM (NLS)
United States District Court, S.D. California, November 19, 2007

Subjects: United States. Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996; All Mission Indian Housing Authority; Eviction; Housing authorities -- Tribes; Landlord and tenant.

*Synopsis: Indian housing authority, which was federally-sanctioned and federally-funded, brought unlawful detainer action seeking to evict tenants from home which housing authority was renting to them based on the tenants' failure to pay rent.

*Holding: The District Court, Barry Ted Moskowitz, J., held that:
(1) federal court did not have jurisdiction, pursuant to Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA), to hear action, and
(2) Indian housing authority did not assert cause of action cognizable under federal common law.
Case dismissed.

United States v. Littlejohn
2007 WL 4079086
No. 2:05CR5
United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Bryson City Division, November 15, 2007

Subjects: Restitution -- Members -- Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; Profit-sharing -- Members -- Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; Attachment and garnishment -- North Carolina -- Members -- Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; Casinos -- Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; Child support -- Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The Government now seeks to garnish the Defendant's per capita distribution of gaming revenues received twice a year from the Tribe. The Tribe has answered that such funds are immune from garnishment due to the sovereign nature of the Tribe. The Defendant, Littlejohn, has also answered that the funds are immune because there is a child support Order pending in the Cherokee Tribal Court, which must be paid from the same distribution.

*Holding: not yet available

United States v. Morrison
521 F.Supp.2d 246
No. 04-CR-699 (DRH)(S-2)
United States District Court, E.D. New York, November 9, 2007

Subjects: Cigarettes -- Labeling -- New York (State); United States. Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act.

*Synopsis: Defendant charged with multiple counts of aiding and abetting the selling and of contraband cigarettes lacking valid state tax stamps in violation of the Contraband Cigarettes Trafficking Act (CCTA) moved to dismiss the indictment. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York denied motion. Defendant moved for reconsideration and again moved to dismiss the charges.

*Holding: The District Court, Hurley, Senior District Judge, held that:
(1) motion for reconsideration would be denied, and
(2) the CCTA was not void for vagueness as applied to crime of aiding and abetting the selling of untaxed cigarettes off of a Native American reservation in New York State.
Motions denied.

First Specialty Insurance Corporation v. Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon
2007 WL 3283699
Civil No. 07-05-KI
United States District Court, D. Oregon, November 2, 2007

Subjects: Contracts -- Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon; First Specialty Insurance Corp.; Investment advisors; Jurisdiction -- Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon; Fraud.

*Synopsis: (from the opnion) The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon (?Tribe?) sued its investment advisors in Multnomah County Circuit Court, which sent the action to arbitration pursuant to an agreement between the parties. The Tribe lost in arbitration and the arbitrators awarded the investment advisors attorney fees and costs. The Tribe then brought a successful action in its tribal court system to vacate the arbitration award. First Specialty Insurance Corporation (?FSIC?), the successor by assignment to the investment advisors, brought the action now before me asking this court to declare the tribal court's vacation of the arbitration award invalid and to enter judgment on the arbitration award. Before the court are the Tribe's (# 15) and FSIC's (# 11) Cross Motions for Summary Judgment. For the reasons below, I conclude that the Tribal Court had jurisdiction and grant comity to its ruling.

*Holding: not yet available

U.S. ex rel Lummi Indian Nation v. Washington
2007 WL 3273545
No. C01-0047Z
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Seattle, November 2, 2007

Subjects: Treaty of Point Elliott (1855); Groundwater -- Lummi Tribe of the Lummi Reservation, Washington; Reserved water rights -- Lummi Tribe of the Lummi Reservation, Washington; Indian reservations -- Defined; Indian Country (U.S.) -- Defined; Reserved water rights -- Defined.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) After protracted negotiations, Ecology, Whatcom County, the Water Associations, and substantially all of the remaining property owners have reached agreement with the United States and the Lummi Nation, pursuant to which water is allocated based on scientific principles and under which future disputes can be efficiently resolved.

*Holding: not yet available

October

United States v. Washington
252 Fed.Appx. 183
Nos. 06-35185, 06-35241
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, October 26, 2007

Subjects: Jurisdiction -- United States.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) This case is remanded to the district court. A 12(b)(6) dismissal is not appropriate. The district court failed to make any determination on whether it has continuing jurisdiction and on what ground. The jurisdictional basis is not self-evident; it is necessarily linked to the nature of the claim being asserted. The issues and proceedings are complex and meaningful appellate review requires a more developed record.

*Holding: not yet available

Governor of Kansas v. Kempthorne
505 F.3d 1089
No. 06-3213
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, October 24, 2007

Subjects: Trust lands -- Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma; Land into trust -- Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma; Indian gaming -- Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma; United States. Dept. of the Interior; Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma -- Land tenure -- Kansas -- Kansas City; Quiet title actions.

*Synopsis: Governor of Kansas and several Indian tribes challenged decision of Secretary of the Interior (DOI) taking into trust for Wyandotte Indian Tribe a tract of land on which tribe intended to operate casino. The United States District Court for the District of Kansas, 430 F.Supp.2d 1204, Robinson, J., affirmed trust status of the tract, and plaintiffs appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Ebel, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) Quiet Title Act barred action;
(2) Quiet Title Act's bar applied even though Governor's earlier challenge to DOI's similar earlier decision regarding same tract had been valid; and
(3) Court of Appeals' order in previous challenge, and DOI's appearances in court, could not effect waiver of sovereign immunity.
Appeal dismissed; remanded with instructions to vacate judgment and dismiss.

Lathan v. Thompson
251 Fed.Appx. 665
No. 06-15587
United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, October 19, 2007 - Added 6/19/08

Subjects: Freedom of religion; Indian prisoners -- Alabama; Long hair; Sweat lodges; United States. Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000; Indians of North America -- Rites and ceremonies; Policies and institutions.

*Synopsis: Inmates, who adhered to Native American religion, brought action challenging on various constitutional grounds and under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) the state Department of Corrections' policies restricting hair length and prohibiting sweat lodge ceremonies. The United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama granted summary judgment to government defendants on their hair length restriction claims and dismissed sweat lodge claims. Inmates appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals held that:
(1) inmates' claims challenging policy prohibiting sweat lodge ceremonies were moot;
(2) inmates were not entitled to monetary relief on their sweat lodge claims; and
(3) genuine issue of material fact as to whether Department's total ban on long hair was least restrictive means of furthering compelling governmental interest precluded summary judgment.
Affirmed in part; reversed, vacated and remanded in part.

Navajo Nation v. United States Forest Service
506 F.3d 717
Nos. 06-15371, 06-15436, 06-15455
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, October 17, 2007

Subjects: United States. Forest Service; Arizona Snow Bowl (Ariz.) -- Remodeling; Rites and ceremonies -- Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah; Coconino National Forest (Ariz.); Sacred sites -- Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Upon the vote of a majority of nonrecused regular active judges of this court, it is ordered that this case be reheard by the en banc court pursuant to Circuit Rule 35-3. The three-judge panel opinion shall not be cited as precedent by or to this court or any district court of the Ninth Circuit, except to the extent adopted by the en banc court.

*Holding: not yet available

LECG, LLC v. Seneca Nation of Indians
518 F.Supp.2d 274
Civil Action No. 06-1303(RCL)
United States District Court, District of Columbia, October 31, 2007

Subjects: Contracts -- Seneca Nation of New York; LECG, LLC; Jurisdiction -- Seneca Nation of New York; Exhaustion of tribal remedies; Auditing, Internal -- Seneca Nation of New York.

*Synopsis: Provider of forensic accounting and consulting services related to independent counsel's review of financial transactions and other issues regarding construction, financing, management, and operation of Indian tribe's casino business brought action against tribe, seeking enforcement of binding arbitration provision in parties' agreement. Tribe moved to stay the action pending exhaustion of ongoing tribal court proceedings.

*Holding: The District Court, Lamberth, J., held that:
(1) provider failed to exhaust its tribal remedies;
(2) arbitration clause in parties' agreement did not negate requirements of tribal exhaustion doctrine; and
(3) provider was not excepted from exhaustion of tribal remedies requirement.
Motion granted.

New York v. Shinnecock Indian Nation
523 F.Supp.2d 185
Nos. 03-CV-3243 (JFB)(ARL), 03-CV-3466 (JFB)(ARL)
United States District Court, E.D. New York, October 30, 2007

Subjects: Reclamation of land -- New York (State) -- Shinnecock Indian Nation, New York; Land tenure -- Shinnecock Indian Nation, New York -- New York (State) -- Suffolk County; Casinos -- Design and construction -- Shinnecock Indian Nation, New York -- New York (State) -- Suffolk County.

*Synopsis: State and municipality sued Shinnecock Nation, seeking to bar construction and operation of gaming casino on land allegedly owned by tribe. Preliminary injunction barring construction was granted, 280 F.Supp.2d 1, and parties' cross-motions for summary judgment were denied, 400 F.Supp.2d 486.

*Holding: Following bench trial, the District Court, Joseph F. Bianco, J., held that:
(1) nation's aboriginal title to land at issue was extinguished;
(2) proposed development was barred under Sherrill doctrine;
(3) operation of casino would have violated state anti-gaming laws;
(4) sovereign immunity did not bar action; and
(5) permanent injunction would properly issue.
Judgment for plaintiffs.

Me-Wuk Indian Community of the Wilton Rancheria v. Kempthorne
246 F.R.D. 315
Civil Action No. 07-412 (RCL)
United States District Court, District of Columbia, October 24, 2007

Subjects: Federal recognition of Indian tribes -- Me-Wuk Indian Community of the Wilton Rancheria.

*Synopsis: In Indian group's action seeking restoration of status as a federally recognized tribe, second group, which had brought a complaint in the Northern District of California seeking the same recognition, moved to intervene. First group opposed the motion and, in the alternative, asked the Court to limit scope of the claims to be set forth in the complaint-in-intervention. Secretary of the Interior (DOI) moved to transfer venue to the Eastern District of California and, after competing group indicated that if allowed to intervene, it would move to transfer venue to the Northern District of California, DOI indicated it would support transfer to that District.

*Holding: The District Court, Royce C. Lamberth, J., held that:
(1) putative intervenor had standing to intervene;
(2) putative intervenor had a legally protectable interest in tribe's restoration to federally recognized status;
(3) putative intervenor showed that its interest might not be adequately represented by the parties;
(4) permitting intervention did not impermissibly broaden the scope of the litigation; and
(5) convenience of the parties and witnesses favored transfer to Northern District of California.
Ordered accordingly.

Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. Leavitt
2007 WL 7731370
Civil No. 05?988 WJ/LAM.
United States District Court, D. New Mexico, October 18, 2007

*Synopsis: (from the opinion)" In a Memorandum, Opinion and Order entered on June 15, 2007 (Doc. 50), the Court decided the purely legal issue whether the Defendants had discretion under the Indian Self?Determination and Education Assistance Act, 25 U.S.C. ?? 450 through 458bbb?2 (“ISDA”), to decline to enter into a contract with the Plaintiff Tribe (“Tribe”) to assume control over and management of the programs, functions services and activities of the Southern Ute Health Center. I granted Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction, and denied Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment: FN1"

*Holdings: (not yet available)

Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin v. Village of Hobart Wisconsin
2007 WL 3025495
No. 06-C-1302
United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin, October 15, 2007

Subjects: Land tenure -- Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin; Land tenure -- Hobart (Wis.); Real property -- Sales -- Wisconsin -- Hobart.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin filed this action against the Village of Hobart seeking a determination that property located within the original boundaries of the Tribe's reservation that was recently purchased from non-tribal members reverts to reservation status and is not subject to state and local laws governing land use, taxation, and condemnation.

*Holding: not yet available

Village of Pender v. Parker
2007 WL 2914871
No. 4:07CV3101
United States District Court, D. Nebraska, October 4, 2007

Subjects: Villages -- On Indian reservations -- Omaha Tribe of Nebraska; Alcoholic beverages -- Sales -- Nebraska -- Pender -- Tribal supervision -- Omaha Tribe of Nebraska; Pender (Neb.).

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) This case raises the fascinating and difficult question of whether or not the Village of Pender, and the other plaintiffs' businesses, are physically within the Omaha Indian reservation such that the Omaha Tribe may regulate and tax liquor sales in Pender.

*Holding: not yet available

Sault Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians v. United States
2007 WL 2914236
No. 2:06-cv-276
United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division, October 3, 2007

Subjects: Gambling -- Law and legislation -- Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan; Tribal law drafting -- Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan -- Federal supervision; National Indian Gaming Commission (U.S.); United States. Administrative Procedure Act; Gambling -- On Indian reservations -- Michigan -- St. Ignace.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) In this action, the Tribe challenges the decision of the Defendants to disapprove the Tribe's request that it be permitted to game on a parcel of land in St. Ignace, Michigan.

*Holding: not yet available

September

Catawba Indian Tribe of South Carolina v. City of Rock Hill, South Carolina
501 F.3d 368
No. 05-2050
United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, September 20, 2007

Subjects: Catawba Indian Tribe of South Carolina; Municipal ordinances -- South Carolina -- Rock Hill; Water-pipes -- Catawba Indian Tribe of South Carolina; Sewage -- Catawba Indian Tribe of South Carolina; Intergovernmental agreements -- South Carolina -- Rock Hill; Intergovernmental agreements -- Catawba Indian Tribe of South Carolina.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe sued city, alleging that city ordinance impaired contracts previously entered into by tribe and city for construction of water infrastructure to serve tribe's reservation. The United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, Cameron McGowan Currie, J., entered summary judgment for city. Tribe appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals held that city ordinance imposing impact fee for requests for new water service did not impair prior contracts.
Affirmed.

Miner Electric, Inc. v. Muscogee (Creek) Nation
505 F.3d 1007
No. 06-5216
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, September 19, 2007

Subjects: Criminal actions arising on Indian reservations -- Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Oklahoma; Non-Indians; Civil jurisdiction -- Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Oklahoma; Forfeiture -- On Indian reservations; United States. Constitution 5th Amendment; United States. Constitution. 8th Amendment; United States. Indian Civil Rights Act. Title 1; Federal question; Sovereign immunity -- Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Oklahoma.

*Synopsis: Non-Indians, as occupants of sports utility vehicle (SUV) and its corporate owners, sued Indian tribe, seeking injunctive relief and declaratory judgment that tribe lacked jurisdiction to enter civil forfeiture order for cash and SUV in which drugs were found while occupants were visiting Indian casino, and asserting that forfeiture was denial of their rights under Fifth and Eighth Amendments and Title I of Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA). The United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, H. Dale Cook, Senior District Judge, 464 F.Supp.2d 1130, granted non-Indians summary judgment. Tribe appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Baldock, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) federal-question jurisdiction did not negate tribal sovereign immunity, and
(2) suit was not within Dry Creek exception to tribal sovereign immunity.
Reversed and remanded, with instructions to vacate and dismiss.

Nulankeyutmonen Nkihtaqmikon v. Impson
503 F.3d 18
No. 06-2733
United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit, September 14, 2007

Subjects: Nulankeyutmonen Nkihtaqmikon; Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine; Energy development -- On Indian reservations; Oil and gas leases; United States. National Environmental Policy Act of 1969; United States. Administrative Procedure Act; United States. Endangered Species Act of 1973; United States. Indian Long-Term Leasing Act; Exhaustion of administrative remedies.

*Synopsis: Group of Indian tribe members and individual tribe members brought action for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that approval by Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) of lease of tribal land on which developer sought to construct liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal violated Indian Long-Term Leasing Act, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and Endangered Species Act (ESA) and breached federal government's fiduciary duty to Indian citizens. The United States District Court for the District of Maine, John A. Woodcock, Jr., J., 462 F.Supp.2d 86, dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Plaintiffs appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Torruella, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) BIA's change in position on appeal did not warrant remand;
(2) plaintiffs had Article III standing to pursue their procedural claims under NEPA, NHPA, and ESA;
(3) plaintiffs' interests arguably fell within zone of interests protected by Indian Long-Term Leasing Act, as required for prudential standing;
(4) plaintiffs failed to state claim in alleging breach of federal government's fiduciary duty to Indian citizens;
(5) plaintiffs' claims were ripe for review; and
(6) administrative exhaustion was not jurisdictional requirement.
Affirmed in part; reversed and remanded in part.

Navajo Nation v. United States
501 F.3d 1327
No. 2006-5059
United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, September 13, 2007
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

Subjects: Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah; United States. Tucker Act; Breach of trust -- United States; Coal mines and mining -- On Indian reservations; Mining leases; United States. Indian Mineral Leasing Act of 1938; United States. Indian Mineral Leasing Act; United States. Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action against United States under Indian Tucker Act for a breach of trust in leasing the tribe's lands for coal mining. On remand, the Court of Federal Claims, Lawrence M. Baskir, J., 68 Fed.Cl. 805, found that the tribes's asserted network of other statutes and regulations failed to establish a money-mandating trust in the area of royalty rates, and tribe appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Gajarsa, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) tribe had a cognizable money-mandating claim under Indian Tucker Act against the United States for a breach of trust in a Indian Mineral Leasing Act (IMLA) lease of the tribe's lands for coal mining, and
(2) government violated its common law trust duties of care, candor, and loyalty, its duty under the Navajo-Hopi Rehabilitation Act to keep the tribe informed regarding the development of its coal resources, its duty under the regulations promulgated pursuant to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act to provide the tribe representation in a matter related to coal mining operations, and its duty under the Indian lands section of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act to include and enforce terms and conditions requested by the tribe.
Reversed and remanded.

United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma v. U.S. ex rel. Norton
247 Fed.Appx. 150
No. 06-7033
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, September 6, 2007

Subjects: Indian gaming -- United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians of Oklahoma; Gambling on Indian reservations -- Oklahoma; Land tenure -- United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians of Oklahoma -- Oklahoma -- Tahlequah; United States. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe filed a state court declaratory judgment action against State of Oklahoma to determine whether it could legally operate a gaming facility on certain land. After state court enjoined State from enforcing its laws against tribe's purported gaming violations, State removed case to federal court and filed a declaratory judgment counterclaim. Tribe later amended its complaint to add the United States as a defendant. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma remanded matter to National Indian Gaming Commission and denied as moot State's summary judgment motion. State appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, John C. Porfilio, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) district court's remand order was not a final, appealable order;
(2) Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction to review any of State's claims of error by district court with respect to preliminary injunction; and
(3) denial of State's summary judgment motion as moot was not an appealable order.
Appeal dismissed.

United States v. Mitchell
502 F.3d 931
No. 03-99010
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, September 5, 2007

Subjects: Law -- United States -- Application -- Indians of North America; United States. Federal Death Penalty Act; United States. Major Crimes Act; Capital punishment; Jurors.

*Synopsis: Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, Mary H. Murguia, J., of first degree murder, felony murder, carjacking resulting in death, and related federal crimes involving other Navajos on the Navajo Indian reservation in Arizona. Defendant was sentenced to death. Appeal was taken.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Rymer, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) Federal Death Penalty Act (FDPA) extended to carjacking committed by defendant, a Native American against other Native Americans in Indian country;
(2) Major Crimes Act did not preclude federal court's exercise of jurisdiction over Native American charged with federal carjacking resulting in death;
(3) imposition of death sentence for Native American convicted of carjacking resulting in death did not violate the right of free exercise of religion;
(4) excusal for cause of jury member based on juror's perceived inability to set aside religious opposition to the death penalty was warranted;
(5) exclusion of jurors based on jurors' views that, based on their Navajo traditional religion and culture, they would be unable to set those views aside and apply the law impartially, did not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) or the American Indian Religious Freedom Act;
(6) joinder of robbery and car-jacking counts was permissible and declining to sever them was not manifestly prejudicial;
(7) probative value of evidence of post-mortem decapitation and dismemberment, thus of photographs depicting it, was not outweighed by the potential for undue prejudice;
(8) district judge's ex parte meetings with United States marshal were not stages of the trial implicating defendant's right to be present at critical stages of the proceeding;
(9) jury instruction on pecuniary gain was warranted; and
(10) defendant could waive the right of presence at penalty phase of capital murder trial.
Affirmed.

Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma v. United States
517 F.Supp.2d 365
Civil Action No. 06-0519 (PLF)
United States District Court, District of Columbia, September 27, 2007

Subjects: Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma -- Compensation for taking; United States. Quiet Title Act; Fort Reno Military Reserve; Treaties -- Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma; Sovereign immunity -- United States.

*Synopsis: Indian tribes, alleging they were not adequately compensated for reservation lands used for a military reserve, brought action seeking declaratory relief and an accounting for mining rights. Government moved to dismiss or for summary judgment, and tribes cross-moved for a continuance to permit discovery.

*Holding: The District Court, Paul L. Friedman, J., held that tribes' claims were barred by the statute of limitations in the Quiet Title Act.
Dismissed.

Aroostook Band of Micmacs v. Ryan
2007 WL 2816183
Civil No. 03-24-B-K
United States District Court, D. Maine, September 27, 2007

Subjects: Sovereignty -- Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians of Maine; Sovereign immunity -- Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians of Maine; Maine Human Rights Commission; Maine. Maine Human Rights Act; Maine. Maine Whistle Blower Protection Act; Maine. Maine Micmac Settlement Act; Jurisdiction -- Maine; Jurisdiction -- United States; Employees -- Dismissal of; Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians of Maine -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- Maine.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The Aroostook Band of Micmacs contends that it is not subject to regulatory oversight by the Maine Human Rights Commission or to civil suits brought against the Band by Maine citizens under the Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA) and the Maine Whistleblower Protection Act (MWPA). The Band's various immunity arguments in support of this proposition were rejected by the Court of Appeals in Aroostook Band of Micmacs v. Ayoob, 484 F.3d 41 (1st Cir.2007). The Band has two remaining arguments. The first, asserted in the fourth count of the Band's amended complaint, is that Title VII, which exempts Indian tribes from its coverage, preempts the MHRA and the MWPA and precludes the State of Maine from regulating the Band where Congress has chosen not to. (Pl.'s Mot. for Summ. J. at 28-35, Doc. No. 41; Pl.'s Supp. Brief at 1-3, Doc. No. 140; Am. Compl. ¶¶ 81-88, Doc. No. 28.) The second argument, asserted in the fifth count, is that neither the MHRA nor the MWPA can be construed to include the Band within their respective definitions of “employer,” because the Band cannot be regarded as a “person” under Maine law.

*Holding: not yet available

Wolfchild v. United States
78 Fed.Cl. 472
Nos. 03-2648L, 01-568L
United States Court of Federal Claims, September 26, 2007

Subjects: Fiduciary accountability -- United States; Trusts and trustees ? Accounting; Breach of trust -- United States; Mdewakanton Indians; Jurisdiction -- United States; United States. Court of Federal Claims.

*Synopsis: Lineal descendants of Mdewakanton Sioux who were loyal to the United States during the Sioux Outbreak in Minnesota during 1862 brought suit against the United States for breach of trust originally provided for the benefit of loyal Mdewakanton. Partial summary judgment finding breach of trust was entered in favor of plaintiffs. Defendant filed motion for interlocutory appeal.

*Holding: The United States Court of Federal Claims, Lettow, J., held that:
(1) question whether the Lower Sioux, Prairie Island and Shakopee Indian Communities act as agents of the United States as a result of a 1980 Act would not be certified for interlocutory appeal, and
(2) question whether a trust was created as a consequence of 1888, 1889, and 1890 Appropriations Acts for the benefit of loyal Mdewakanton Sioux and their lineal descendants, and question whether Congress terminated the trust with enactment of 1980 Act, would be certified for interlocutory appeal.
Motion granted in part and denied.

Native American Arts. Inc. v. Duck House, Inc.
2007 WL 2789274
No. 05 C 2176
United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division, September 20, 2007

Subjects: Native American Arts (U.S.); Duck House, Inc.; United States. Indian Arts and Crafts Enforcement Act of 2000; Indian craft -- Defined; Indian art -- Defined.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Plaintiff Native American Arts, Inc. (“NAA”) alleges it is an “Indian arts and craft organization.” See 25 U.S.C. 305e(d) (4) (“any legally established arts and crafts marketing organization composed of members of Indian tribes”). Plaintiff alleges that defendant Duck House, Inc. has violated Indian Arts and Crafts Acts (collectively “IACA”) codified at 25 U.S.C. §§ 305-10. Plaintiff alleges that defendant has violated the IACA by directly or indirectly advertising, marketing, distributing, and selling goods, including Indian-clothed dolls, that are falsely suggested to be Indian products or Indian produced.

*Holding: not yet available

GreyBuffalo v. Kingston
581 F.Supp.2d 1034
No. 06-C-504-C
United States District Court,W.D. Wisconsin September 18, 2007 - Added 1/5/09

Subjects:

*Synopsis: State inmate brought s 1983 action for declaratory and injunctive relief, challenging, on First Amendment grounds, prison officials' actions in confiscating two documents as "gang literature" and disciplining him for possessing documents. Officials moved for summary judgment.

*Holding:The District Court, Barbara B. Crabb, J., held that:
(1) interpreting prison regulation to prohibit inmates from possessing literature of any group that had not been sanctioned by prison officials was exaggerated response to legitimate security interests that violated First Amendment;
(2) history of civil rights organization referenced in seized document did not permit reasonable conclusion that inmate's possession of document implicated legitimate interest in preventing gang activity or prison security;
(3) declaration that officials' confiscation of document referring to civil rights organization and injunction requiring expungement from prison records of finding that inmate's possession of document violated prison rules were appropriate remedies for First Amendment violation;
(4) officials could reasonably conclude that inmate's possession of code of conduct for prisoner group that was created to enable "self-protection" of Native American prisoners could lead to future security problems; and
(5) officials did not violate inmate's free speech rights when it prohibited and disciplined inmate for possessing code of conduct for prisoner group that was created to enable "self-protection" of Native American prisoners.
Ordered accordingly.

Oenga v. United States
78 Fed.Cl. 427
No. 06-491 L
United States Court of Federal Claims, September 13, 2007

Subjects: Indian allotments -- Alaska; Breach of trust -- United States; Oil and gas production -- On Indian reservations; Breach of trust -- United States; Trusts and trustees -- Accounting; Payment -- United States; United States. Indian Mineral Leasing Act of 1938.

*Synopsis: Percentage owners of surface estate of a 40-acre Alaska Native Allotment brought suit against the United States alleging that the government committed a breach of trust by failing to collect on their behalf the proper rents and royalties due on lease of 20 acres for oil and gas production facilities. Oil companies which had interests in the lease intervened as defendants. Plaintiffs moved to compel production of documents by one of the intervenors. Alaskan native entity intervened for sole purpose of responding to motion to compel.

*Holding: The United States Court of Federal Claims, Damich, Chief Judge, held that plaintiffs were entitled to production of documents concerning oil company's lease of similar Native Alaskan surface interest at nearby oil field, as documents concerning comparable transaction were relevant to issue whether government entered into a lease of plaintiffs' property that did not return a fair annual rental as required by Indian Long-Term Leasing Act.
Motion granted.

Breakthrough Management Group, Inc. v. Chukchansi Gold Casino and Resort
2007 WL 2701995
Civil Action No. 06-cv-01596-MSK-KLM
United States District Court, D. Colorado, September 12, 2007

Subjects: Training -- Breakthrough Management Group, Inc.; Casinos -- Officials and employees -- Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California; Copyright infringement -- Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California; Jurisdiction -- United States; Sovereign immunity -- Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The primary focus of all of the Defendants' motions are an assertion of sovereign immunity, an argument that implicates the Court's subject-matter jurisdiction. E.F. W. v. St. Stephen's Indian High School, 264 F.3d 1297, 1302-03 (10th Cir.2001); Fletcher v. United States, 116 F.3d 1315, 1324 (10th Cir.1997).

*Holding: not yet available

Oglala Sioux Tribe v. C & W Enterprises, Inc.
516 F.Supp.2d 1044
No. CIV. 07-5024-KES
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division, September 10, 2007

Subjects: Jurisdiction -- South Dakota; Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota; Sovereign immunity -- Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota; Contracts -- Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota; Roads -- Design and construction -- Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota; Indian business enterprises -- C & W Enterprises, Inc.; Breach of contract -- Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota.

*Synopsis: After an arbitrator ruled in favor of road construction company in its dispute with Indian tribe over four contracts, company petitioned in a South Dakota state court for confirmation of arbitration award and entry of judgment. Tribe filed action in federal court seeking declaratory judgment that the state court lacked jurisdiction or a permanent injunction prohibiting company from pursuing its claim in state court. Following denial, 516 F.Supp.2d 1039, 2007 WL 2745697, of company's motion to dismiss, the state court entered default judgment for company and granted two executions of the judgment. After tribe received a tribal court order vacating the arbitration award, it moved in federal court to vacate the executions and enjoin the state court from conducting further proceedings.

*Holding: The District Court, Karen E. Schreier, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) tribe had a substantial likelihood of success on the merits;
(2) tribe established that it might suffer irreparable harm as result of state court's notice of levy against tribal funds; and
(3) potential harm to tribe resulting from state court's notice of levy outweighed company's concern regarding its ability to collect state court judgment.
Injunction granted and executions vacated.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Navajo Health Fundation-Sage Memorial Hospital, Inc.
2007 WL 2683825
No. CV-06-2125-PCT-DGC
United States District Court, D. Arizona, September 7, 2007

Subjects: Health facilities -- Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah; United States. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; United States. Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title 7; Discrimination in employment -- Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah; Indian preference in hiring; Government agencies -- Tribes -- Defined; Sovereignty -- Government agencies -- Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion)Plaintiff Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a complaint against Defendant Navajo Health Foundation-Sage Memorial Hospital, Inc. (“Sage Hospital”). Plaintiff brought this action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant discriminated against several employees based on their race and national origin. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant retaliated against the employees after they complained and filed EEOC charges.

*Holding: not yet available

Gasplus, L.L.C. v. U.S. Department of Interior
510 F.Supp.2d 18
Civil Action No. 03-1902 (RMC)
United States District Court, District of Columbia, September 6, 2007

Subjects: Gas distribution -- Pueblo of Nambe, New Mexico; Contracts -- Pueblo of Nambe, New Mexico -- Federal supervision; Sovereignty -- Pueblo of Nambe, New Mexico; GasPlus; United States. Administrative Procedure Act.

*Synopsis: Gasoline distribution company sued the Department of the Interior (DOI), challenging under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) a decision of the DOI's Acting Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, which determined that a contract between an Indian tribe and the company was invalid. The parties cross-moved for summary judgment.

*Holding: The District Court, Rosemary M. Collyer, J., held that:
(1) the company had standing, and
(2) the management contract did not encumber Indian land.
Plaintiff's motion granted.

Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska v. Morrison
512 F.Supp.2d 1182
No. 02-4070-JTM
United States District Court, D. Kansas, September 6, 2007

Subjects: Kansas. Motor-Vehicle Fuel Tax Act; Motor fuels -- Taxation -- Kansas; Imports -- Kansas; Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska; Licenses -- HCI Distribution Corp. (Neb.); Service stations -- Sac & Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska; Service stations -- Kickapoo Tribe of Indians of the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas.

*Synopsis: In Indian tribes' action to restrain enforcement by State of Kansas of tax on use or sale and delivery of motor vehicle fuel between plaintiffs, after Court of Appeals, 341 F.3d 1202, affirmed grant, 216 F.Supp.2d 1226, of injunction requiring State to return property seized from Indian tribe, the District Court, 2005 WL 1683970, certified question. The Kansas Supreme Court, 283 Kan. 64, 150 P.3d 892, answered certified question, and tribes moved for summary judgment and for imposition of sanctions based on State's failure to comply with injunction.

*Holding: The District Court, J. Thomas Marten, J., held that:
(1) tribes were not required to pay state tax on use or sale and delivery of motor vehicle fuel imported by one tribe and sold to other tribes on their reservations, and
(2) imposition of sanctions was not warranted.
Motions granted in part and denied in part.

Robinson v. United States
2007 WL 2580612
No. Cv. S-04-0734 RRB KJM
United States District Court, E.D. California, September 5, 2007

Subjects: Indian land transfers -- California -- Butte County; Gambling on Indian reservations -- California; Indian gaming -- Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California ; Casinos -- Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California; Servitudes -- California -- Butte County.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Plaintiffs Dennis Robinson, Spencer Robinson, Jr., Cynthia Robinson, and Vickie Robinson allege that the United States interfered with their easement for road and utility purposes.

*Holding: not yet available

August

Access Fund v. United States Department of Agriculture
499 F.3d 1036
No. 05-15585
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, August 27, 2007

Subjects: Cave Rock (Nev.); Sacred sites -- On Public Lands -- Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.); Recreation areas -- On Public lands -- Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.); Historic preservation -- Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.); United States. Administrative Procedure Act; Freedom of religion -- United States; United States. Constitution. Establishment clause; United States. Forest Service.

*Synopsis: Advocacy group sued United States Forest Service (USFS), asserting that decision to ban rock climbing at Cave Rock, a site within a national forest on the shore of Lake Tahoe with religious and cultural significance to the Washoe Tribe, violated Establishment Clause and was arbitrary and capricious under Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Howard D. McKibben, J., granted USFS summary judgment. Advocacy group appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, McKeown, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) climbing ban had secular purpose of cultural preservation;
(2) climbing ban did not endorse Washoe religion; and
(3) climbing ban was reasonably based on non-arbitrary considerations.
Affirmed.

State of Texas v. United States
497 F.3d 491
No. 05-50754
United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, August 17, 2007
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

Subjects: Texas; United States; Indian gaming -- Class III -- Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas; Intergovernmental agreements -- Texas; Intergovernmental agreements -- Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas; Negotiation -- Texas; United States. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act; Good faith (Law).

*Synopsis: State challenged validity of Interior Department rules for Class III gaming procedures. The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, 362 F.Supp.2d 765, Lee Yeakel, J., granted partial summary judgment for Department, ruling that, while state had standing to assert its claims, those claims were unripe, and that Secretary of Interior had implied authority under Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) to promulgate challenged rules. State appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Edith H. Jones, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) state had standing to bring challenge;
(2) state's claims were ripe; and
(3) challenged rules, which bypassed certain prerequisites of IGRA, did not reasonably effectuate Act and were not entitled to Chevron deference.
Reversed and remanded.

United States v. Lambert
498 F.3d 963
No. 07-30060
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, August 16, 2007

Subjects: Federal aid to education; Tribal education departments -- Finance; Contracts -- United States; Contracts -- Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Montana; Fraud.

*Synopsis: Defendant was convicted, upon a guilty plea, in the United States District Court for the District of Montana, Sam E. Haddon, J., for conspiracy to defraud the United States, and was sentenced to 12 months in prison. Defendant appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Hawkins, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) Sentencing Guidelines' enhancement for defendant's misrepresentations that he was acting on behalf of educational organization was not limited to misrepresentations that exploited the victim's charitable impulses, and
(2) enhancement applied to defendant.
Affirmed.

Maine v. Johnson
498 F.3d 37
Nos. 04-1363, 04-1375
United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit, August 8, 2007

Subjects: Penobscot Tribe of Maine; Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine; Waste disposal -- On Indian reservations -- State supervision -- Maine; United States. Environmental Protection Agency; United States. Federal Water Pollution Control Act; Land tenure -- Law and legislation -- Maine; Jurisdiction -- United States.

*Synopsis: Petitions were brought for review of decision of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which gave State of Maine permitting authority, under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Maine "Settlement Acts," with regard to discharge of pollutants into territorial waters of certain Indian tribes, but exempted two tribal-owned facilities from the State's permitting program.

*Holding: On consolidation of petitions, the Court of Appeals, Boudin, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) EPA did not err in giving State permitting authority with regard to 19 facilities which discharged pollutants into territorial waters of two Indian tribes; but
(2) EPA erred in exempting from that authority two Indian tribe-owned facilities; and
(3) Court lacked jurisdiction to review issue of whether EPA, after granting State permitting authority, retained authority to review State-issued permits in light of a general trust relationship between the federal government and two Indian tribes.
Affirmed in part and vacated and remanded in part.

Related News Stories: Maine tribes lose sovereignty in EPA water case (Indianz.com) 8/9/07

Auto-Owners Insurance Company v. Tribal Court of the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation
495 F.3d 1017
No. 06-3562
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, August 1, 2007

Subjects: Sovereign immunity -- Government agencies -- Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota; School children; Rape; Negligence -- Tate Topa Tribal Education Board; Negligence -- Tate Topa Tribal School; Auto-Owners Insurance Company; Jurisdiction -- United States.

*Synopsis: Insurer filed declaratory judgment action against insured Indian elementary school and education board, seeking determination of whether commercial general liability policy and commercial umbrella policy covered alleged sexual assault of student. The United States District Court for the District of North Dakota, Ralph R. Erickson, J., denied insured's motion to dismiss and granted insurer summary judgment. Insured appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Smith, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) court lacked diversity jurisdiction;
(2) court lacked federal question jurisdiction; and
(3) court lacked supplemental jurisdiction.
Reversed and remanded for entry of dismissal.

Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians v. United States
2007 WL 2479293
No. 2:06-cv-276
United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division, August 28, 2007

Subjects: Gambling -- Law and legislation -- Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan; Tribal law drafting -- Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan -- Federal supervision; National Indian Gaming Commission (U.S.); United States. Administrative Procedure Act; Gambling -- On Indian reservations -- Michigan -- St. Ignace.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (hereinafter “the Tribe”), filed this action against the United States of America, the United States Department of the Interior (hereinafter “the Department”), Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, and Philip N. Hogen, Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). The Complaint was filed on November 8, 2006, pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-06, challenging the NIGC's final decision and order disapproving a proposed amendment to the Tribe's gaming ordinance that would have permitted gaming on a parcel of land in St. Ignace, Michigan.

*Holding: not yet available

City of New York v. Milhelm Attea and Bros., Inc.
2007 WL 2460673
No. 06 CV 3620 (CBA)
United States District Court, E.D. New York, August 24, 2007

Subjects: Cigarettes -- Labeling -- New York (State); United States. Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The City of New York has brought an Amended Complaint against the above-captioned defendants, a group of cigarette wholesalers who are state licensed cigarette stamping agents. The principal contention of the City is that the wholesalers violate the Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act (“CCTA”), 18 U.S.C. § 2341 et seq., by shipping in excess of 10,000 unstamped cigarettes to Native Americans who re-sell the cigarettes to the public.

*Holding: not yet available

BGA v. Ulster County, New York
2007 WL 2454220
No. 1:06-CV-0095 (GLS/RFT)
United States District Court, N.D. New York, August 23, 2007

Subjects: Federal recognition of Indian tribes -- Western Mohegan Tribe and Nation (New York); New York (State); Real property -- Taxation -- Western Mohegan Tribe and Nation (New York); New York (State); Public land sales -- New York -- Ulster County.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Plaintiff Indian tribe seeks federal recognition of its sovereignty as an Indian Nation and exemption from future taxation of tribal property in Ulster County.

*Holding: not yet available

United States v. State of Washington
2007 WL 2437166
No. CV 9213RSM
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Seattle, August 22, 2007

Subjects: Swinomish Indians of the Swinomish Reservation, Washington; Samish Indian Tribe, Washington; Lummi Tribe of the Lummi Reservation, Washington; Washington (State); Treaty rights -- Tribes -- Washington (State); Fishing rights -- Tribes -- Washington (State); Treaty of Point Elliott (1855); Culverts -- Design and construction -- Washington (State); Fishes -- Habitat -- Conservation.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) This subproceeding arises from the language in Article III of the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliot (“Stevens Treaties”) in which the Tribes were promised that “[t]he right of taking fish, at all usual and accustomed grounds and stations, is further secured to said Indians, in common with all citizens of the Territory ...” Dkt. # 287-2. The Tribes, in their Request for Determination, state that they brought this action to enforce a duty upon the State of Washington to refrain from constructing and maintaining culverts under State roads that degrade fish habitat so that adult fish production is reduced, which in turn reduces the number of fish available for harvest by the Tribes. In part due to the reduction of harvestable fish caused by those actions of the State, the ability of the Tribes to achieve a moderate living from their Treaty fisheries has been impaired.

*Holding: not yet available

Akiachak Native Community v. Department of Interior
502 F.Supp.2d 64
Civil Action No. 06-969 (RWR)
United States District Court, District of Columbia, August 21, 2007

Subjects: Land into trust -- Akiachak Native Community (AK); United States. Administrative Procedure Act; United States. Indian Reorganization Act; Land into trust -- Tribes -- Alaska; United States. Indian Reorganization Act.

*Synopsis: In action challenging regulation which precluded most Alaskan Indian tribes from acquiring land in trust pursuant to the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA), Department of the Interior (DOI) moved to transfer venue to the District of Alaska.

*Holding: The District Court, Roberts, J., held that:
(1) private-interest factors weighed in favor of District of Columbia as the more appropriate venue for action, and
(2) public-interest factor, when balanced against private-interest factors, did not support transfer.
Motion denied.

United States v. Newmont USA Limited
504 F.Supp.2d 1050
No. CV-05-020-JLQ
United States District Court, E.D. Washington, August 21, 2007

Subjects: United States. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980; Liability (Law) -- United States; Strip mining -- On Indian reservations -- Spokane Tribe of the Spokane Reservation, Washington; Superfund sites -- On Indian reservations -- Spokane Tribe of the Spokane Reservation, Washington; Newmont USA Limited; Midnite Mines, Inc.

*Synopsis: United States brought action against mining companies under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) for clean up of former open-pit uranium mine located on Indian reservation. Companies filed counterclaims to hold United States liable for response costs as site's owner. Parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

*Holding: The District Court, Quackenbush, Senior Judge, held that:
(1) United States was owner of mine for CERCLA purposes, and
(2) counterclaims were not barred by CERCLA provision limiting fiduciary's liability to value of trust assets.
Companies' motion granted.

Fry v. Colville Tribal Court of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation
2007 WL 2405002
No. CV-07-0178-EFS
United States District Court, E.D. Washington, August 17, 2007

Subjects: Contracts -- Colville Reservation, Confederated Tribes of the, Washington -- Members; Contracts -- Non-members of a tribe; Jurisdiction -- United States; Jurisdiction -- Colville Reservation, Confederated Tribes of the, Washington.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) This case arises out of a contract dispute between Lawrence Fry, a member of the Colville Tribe, and his son Richard Fry, a nonmember of the Colville Tribe. In 2001, Lawrence Fry filed an action in the Colville Tribal Court for unjust enrichment, forcible detainer, and partnership accounting (Ct.Rec.6-2). During the course of the litigation, Richard Fry filed a counterclaim, moved for an order finding Lawrence Fry in contempt, and obtained an order requiring Lawrence Fry to turn over vehicles. The tribal court action was initially settled by the parties' agreement to a stipulated judgment which included a clause maintaining jurisdiction in the tribal court for purposes of enforcement. Id. The stipulated judgment was intended to resolve the contract dispute between the Frys and provided for disposal of a significant amount of personal property as well as a fee parcel of land within the boundaries of the reservation owned by Richard Fry, the nonmember.

*Holding: not yet available

Oglala Sioux Tribe v. C & W Enterprises, Inc.
516 F.Supp.2d 1039
No. CIV. 07-5024-KES
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division, August 13, 2007

Subjects: Mining leases -- Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota; Roads -- Contracts -- -- Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota; Sand and gravel plants -- Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota; Arbitration (Administrative law).

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action to enjoin contractor's state court action against it arising from dispute over road construction project. Contractor moved to dismiss complaint.

*Holding: The District Court, Schreier, Chief Judge, held that tribe's action fell within district court's federal question jurisdiction.
Motion denied.

Crosby Lodge, Inc. v. National Indian Gaming Commission
2007 WL 2318581
No. 3:06-CV-00657-LRH-RAM
United States District Court, D. Nevada, August 10, 2007

Subjects: Business enterprises -- On Indian reservations -- Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada; Slot machines -- On Indian reservations -- Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada;; Crosby Lodge, Inc.; Revenue sharing -- Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada; Profit sharing -- Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada. National Indian Gaming Commission (U.S.); Gambling on Indian reservations -- Federal supervision.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Crosby is a Nevada corporation licensed as a Class II gaming operation by the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. (First Am. Compl. (# 23) ¶¶ 5, 27.) Crosby operates a business on the Paiute Lake Indian Reservation in Washoe County, Nevada. The business consists of, among other things, a convenience store, bar, and gas station, and also operates fifteen slot machines. Id. ¶¶ 27-28. Tribal Defendants are demanding payment from Crosby in the amount of $79,282 pursuant to 25 C.F.R. § 522.10(c), which was enacted by the NIGC pursuant to provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (“IGRA”), 25 U.S.C. §§ 2701, et seq. (First Am. Compl. (# 23) ¶¶ 31, 36, 38.) 25 C.F.R. § 522.10(c) requires that “not less than 60 percent of the net revenues [from individually owned gaming operations on tribal lands] be income to the Tribe.” 25 C.F.R. § 522.10(c).

*Holding: not yet available

State of New York v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York
2007 WL 2287878
No. 1:95-CV-554 (LEK/RFT)
United States District Court, N.D. New York, August 7, 2007

Subjects: Turning Stone Casino (N.Y.); Intergovernmental agreements -- Oneida Nation of New York ; Indian gaming -- Oneida Nation of New York; Instant Multi Game.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Plaintiffs' first claim alleges that the Nation's operation of IMG at Turning Stone violates the terms of the Compact because the State did not properly approve IMG's deployment. ..... Plaintiffs alternatively plead in their second claim for relief that even if the Board was authorized to approve an amendment to the Compact, that authority rested with the full three-member Board and could not be delegated to the Chairman or any individual employee of the Board.

*Holding: not yet available

United States v. Rubio
2007 WL 2316629
No. CR 05-225-C-EJL
United States District Court, D. Idaho, August 7, 2007

Subjects: Searches and seizures; Evidence (Law); Indian Country (Wash.) -- Defined; United States. Constitution. 4th Amendment.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Defense counsel has waited until the reply briefing to advance his argument that the issuing judge was without jurisdiction to issue a search warrant on tribal land. This argument is based solely upon the fact that the Culdesac home is located in Indian Country.

*Holding: not yet available

July

Carcieri v. Kempthorne
497 F.3d 15
No. 03-2647
United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit, July 20, 2007
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

Subjects: Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island; United States. Dept. of the Interior; Land into trust -- Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island -- Rhode Island -- Charlestown; Trust lands -- Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island -- Rhode Island -- Charlestown; Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island -- Housing; Rhode Island; United States. Indian Reorganization Act; Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act; United States. Administrative Procedure Act; United States. Constitution.

*Synopsis: State and town petitioned for review of decision of the Department of the Interior (DOI) which accepted a 31-acre parcel of land into trust for benefit of Indian tribe. The United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island, Mary M. Lisi, J., 290 F.Supp.2d 167, granted summary judgment for DOI, and appeal was taken.

*Holding: On rehearing en banc, the Court of Appeals, Lynch, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) DOI's construction of Indian Reorganization Act (IRA), as allowing trust acquisitions for tribes that were recognized and under federal jurisdiction at time of the trust application, was entitled to Chevron deference;
(2) Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) did not act arbitrarily and capriciously, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), when deciding to take land into trust for Indian tribe; and
(3) BIA satisfied its responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by issuing a finding of no significant impact (FONSI).
Affirmed.

Related News Stories: Appeals court backs tribe in land-into-trust dispute (Indianz.com) 7/23/07

MacArthur v. San Juan County
497 F.3d 1057
Nos. 05-4295, 05-4310
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, July 18, 2007

Subjects: Health facilities -- On Indian reservations -- Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah; Health facilities -- Utah -- San Juan County; Employees, Dismissal of -- San Juan Health Services District; Utah Navajo Health Systems; Law -- Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah -- Application -- Non-members of a tribe; Civil jurisdiction -- Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah.

*Synopsis: Employees of special service district, alleging torts and civil rights violations, sought enforcement of preliminary injunctive relief obtained from Navajo Nation district court. The United States District Court for the District of Utah, Bruce S. Jenkins, J., 391 F.Supp.2d 895, refused to enforce three preliminary injunction orders issued by the Navajo court against county defendants, and special service district, and employees appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Kelly, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) with the exception of activities of special service district's board member, Indian tribe did not possess regulatory authority over county's and special service district's employment-related activities and therefore tribal court lacked jurisdiction over employees' claims against defendants other than CEO, and
(2) although tribal court arguably possessed regulatory authority over board member as a member of the tribe, court would exercise its discretion to decline to enforce the tribal court orders in regard to board member.
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and vacated in part.

Related News Stories: Appeals court backs state in clinic dispute (The Salt Lake Tribune) 7/20/07

Citizens Exposing Truth About Casinos v. Kempthorne
492 F.3d 460
No. 06-5354
United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, July 3, 2007

Subjects: Land into trust -- Huron Potawatomi, Inc., Michigan; Indian gaming -- Class III -- Huron Potawatomi, Inc., Michigan; Gambling on Indian reservations -- Huron Potawatomi, Inc., Michigan; Citizens Exposing Truth About Casinos (Mich.); United States. Dept. of the Interior; United States. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act; United States. Indian Reorganization Act; Indian gaming -- On trust lands -- Huron Potawatomi, Inc., Michigan.

*Synopsis: Non-profit Michigan membership corporation brought action against Secretary of the Interior (DOI) and others, challenging DOI's decision to take certain farmland into trust for use by Indian tribe, to construct and operate a class III gambling casino under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, 2004 WL 5238116, granted partial summary judgment for DOI, and non-profit corporation appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Rogers, Circuit Judge, held that DOI's decision to take certain land into trust for use by Indian tribe and to designate that land as the tribe's initial reservation, for purposes of IGRA, was based on a permissible interpretation of the statute.
Affirmed.

St. Pierre v. Norton
498 F.Supp.2d 214
>Civil Action No. 03-1057 GK
United States District Court, District of Columbia, July 31, 2007

Subjects: Disputed elections -- Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota; Constitutions -- Federal supervision; United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs; Constitutions -- Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota; Tribal membership -- Law and legislation -- Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota; Revenue sharing -- Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota; Profit sharing -- Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota; Indian gaming -- Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota; United States. Administrative Procedure Act.

*Synopsis: Plaintiffs, individual members of Indian tribe, brought action under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), alleging that decisions of the Department of the Interior (DOI) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) with respect to tribe's membership policies allowed unqualified members to gain control of the tribe and its gaming revenues. DOI moved for judgment on the pleadings.

*Holding: The District Court, Kessler, J., held that:
(1) tribe was a necessary party but joinder was not feasible, and
(2) doctrine of issue preclusion required dismissal of claim that DOI failed to comply with remand order in prior litigation.
Motion granted.

Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Bishop Community of the Bishop Colony v. City of Los Angeles
2007 WL 2202242
No. 1:06-cv-0736 OWW SMS
United States District Court, E.D. California, July 30, 2007

Subjects: Land tenure -- Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Bishop Community of the Bishop Colony, California; Land tenure -- California -- Los Angeles; Land transfers -- California.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Bishop Community of the Bishop Colony, California, a federally recognized Indian tribe (“Plaintiff”) filed this ejectment action against the City of Los Angeles (“Defendant” or “the City”), claiming the right to occupy lands previously held in trust for the Tribe by the United States which were transferred to the City in 1941 by agents of the United States government. (Doc. 1, Complaint, filed June 12, 2006.) Among other things, Plaintiffs allege that omissions and other failures by agents of the United States caused the 1941 land transfer to fail to satisfy the requirements of a federal statute governing alienation of the land. The complaint names only the City as a Defendant, excluding the United States from the lawsuit.

*Holding: not yet available

Garreaux v. United States
77 Fed.Cl. 726
No. 06-502 C
United States Court of Federal Claims, July 27, 2007

Subjects: Cheyenne River Housing Authority; Federal aid to housing; Building leases; Fort Laramie, Treaty of, 1851; Mutual Help and Occupancy Agreement.

*Synopsis: Indian tenant brought suit against the United States seeking damages for breach of lease agreement which she entered into with a local housing authority and which was supervised by the federal government, and for negligence in administering the lease agreement. Defendant moved to dismiss.

*Holding: The United States Court of Federal Claims, Damich, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) fact that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administered the Mutual Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (MHHOP) and supervised local housing authority did not establish privity of contract between the government and tenant who entered into mutual help and occupancy agreement (MHOA) with housing authority under auspices of the MHHOP program, and
(2) plaintiff's breach of contract and negligence claims did not fall within purview of the "bad men" provision of the Fort Laramie Treaty of April 29, 1868, between the United States and the Great Sioux Nation, so as to create jurisdiction in the Court of Federal Claims.
Motion granted.

Saguaro Chevrolet, Inc. v. United States
77 Fed.Cl. 572
No. 06-714
United States Court of Federal Claims, July 25, 2007

Subjects: Leases -- Colorado River Indian Tribes of the Colorado River Indian Reservation, Arizona and California; Jurisdiction -- United States; Saguaro Chevrolet, Inc.

*Synopsis: Tenant which leased property from the Colorado River Indian Tribes for a car dealership and service facility brought suit against the United States seeking damages for breach of the lease which had been approved by the Secretary of the Interior. Defendant filed motion to dismiss.

*Holding: The United States Court of Federal Claims, Hewitt, J., held that:
(1) fact that Secretary of the Interior approved the lease of land, and that the land was in was in trust and restricted status, did not establish privity of contract between the United States and tenant, and
(2) standard paragraph of lease which provided that "all of the lessee's obligations are to the United States as well as the owner of the land" was not a "dual landlord provision" which established privity between tenant and the United States.
Motion granted.

Fowler v. Crawford
2007 WL 2137803
No. 05-4212-CV-C-NKL
United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division, July 23, 2007

Subjects: Freedom of religion; Indians of North America -- Rites and ceremonies; Sweat lodges; United States. Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000; Missouri. Dept. of Corrections; Jefferson City Correctional Center (Mo.).

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) In support of his claims seeking summary judgment and injunctive and declaratory relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff states defendants have denied him the use and construction of a sweat lodge, in violation of RLUIPA. Plaintiff states use of a sweat lodge is a central tenet of his Native American religion, and that defendants' denial is based upon exaggerated security concerns.

*Holding: not yet available

Apache Tribe of Oklahoma v. United States
2007 WL 2071874
No. CIV-04-1184-R
United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma, July 18, 2007

Subjects: Apache Tribe of Oklahoma; Intergovernmental agreements -- Oklahoma; Intergovernmental agreements -- Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma; Gambling on Indian reservations -- Oklahoma -- Marlow; Indian gaming -- Class III -- Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma; Former tribal lands -- Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma -- Marlow -- Defined.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) This action arises under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), 25 U.S.C. §§ 2701-2721. On March 24, 2004, pursuant to the statutory authority set forth in 25 U.S.C. § 2710(d)(8)(A) and delegated authority, the Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior approved a class III off-track wagering gaming compact submitted by the Chickasaw Tribe of Oklahoma. The Plaintiff in this action, the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, is challenging the approval of the compact and the determination made during that process that the land described in the Compact in Marlow, Oklahoma is “located within that area of land constituting the former reservation land of the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma.”

*Holding: not yet available

Smith v. United States
496 F.Supp.2d 1035
No. 4:06-cv-019
United States District Court, D. North Dakota, Northwestern Division, July 17, 2007

Subjects: Police -- United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs; Law enforcement -- United States -- On Indian reservations; Abandonment of automobiles -- Law and legislation -- Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, North Dakota; United States. Federal Tort Claims Act.

*Synopsis: Guardian ad litem brought suit against government on behalf of minor who was burned on Indian reservation while playing with lighted matches and gasoline, alleging negligence and breach of fiduciary duty by Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in failing to enforce tribal ordinances concerning nearby abandoned vehicles, from which gasoline was allegedly obtained. Government moved to dismiss.

*Holding: The District Court, Hovland, Chief Judge, held that officers' alleged conduct in failing to enforce tribal ordinances regarding abandoned vehicles was shielded from tort liability under discretionary function exception to Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).
Motion granted.

Fort Hall Landowners Alliance, Inc. v. Bureau of Indian Affairs
2007 WL 2187256
No. CV-99-52-E-BLW
United States District Court, D. Idaho, July 16, 2007

Subjects: Privacy -- United States; Disclosure of information -- United States; United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs; Indian allottees -- Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation of Idaho; Breach of trust -- United States; Trusts and trustees -- United States; United States. Privacy Act of 1974; Fort Hall Landowners Alliance.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The Tribes seek a ruling under Rule of Evidence 406, based on defendants' routine business practice, that defendants disclosed personal information of Tribal members to every prospective lessee seeking to negotiate a lease of individually allotted agricultural land on Fort Hall from “early 1997 through February, 1999.” As the Tribes recognize, the Court rejected their earlier attempt to establish this routine practice from 1993 to 1999.

*Holding: not yet available

Quechan Indian Tribe of Fort Yuma Indian Reservation v. U.S. Department of Interior
2007 WL 2023487
No. CV07-0677-PHX-JAT
United States District Court, D. Arizona, July 12, 2007

Subjects: Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation, California & Arizona; United States. National Environmental Policy Act of 1969; United States. National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 ; Memorandums -- Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation and Drainage District; Gila Project (U.S.); Memorandums -- United States. Bureau of Reclamation; Land titles -- Registration and transfer; Environmental impact statements; Environmental impact analysis; United States. Administrative Procedure Act.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) On March 30, 2007, the Quechan Indian Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation (“Plaintiff”) filed a Complaint for Injunctive Relief against numerous federal Defendants and non-federal Defendants. In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that BOR violated the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. § 4332, et seq. (“NEPA”) and the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 U.S.C. § 470, et seq. (“NHPA”) by failing to properly analyze the potential environmental and cultural resources impact resulting from the transfer of the federal land to the District. Plaintiff also alleges that BOR violated the Wellton-Mohawk Transfer Act of 2000 by transferring federal land for purposes of developing an oil refinery.

*Holding: not yet available

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe v. Kempthorne
496 F.Supp.2d 1059
No. CIV 06-3015
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Central Division, July 10, 2007

Subjects: United States. Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. Title 1; Education -- Finance -- Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of the Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota; Schools -- Finance -- Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of the Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota; Public contracts – United States; Tribal schools -- Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of the Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action against Secretary of the interior under Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA), challenging declination of tribe's proposed amendments to contract for provision of educational services at schools operated by Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Tribe and Secretary filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

*Holding: The District Court, Kornmann, J., held that letter declining tribe's proposed amendments failed to comply with ISDEAA, in that it failed, inter alia, to provide detailed explanation for decision.
Tribe's motion granted; Secretary's motion denied.

Yankton Sioux Tribe v. United States Dept. of Health & Human Servs.
496 F.Supp.2d 1044
No. 06-4180
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division, July 9, 2007

Subjects: Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota; United States. Indian Health Service; Hospitals--Emergency services -- United States; Due process of law.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe and individual member of tribe sued United States Indian Health Service (IHS), seeking writ of mandamus, injunction, and declaratory judgment, to prevent closure of IHS emergency room, and asserting that IHS violated due process, federal trust responsibility, and federal statutes. IHS moved to dismiss case with prejudice.

*Holding: The District Court, Piersol, J., held that:
(1) prior decisions granting and dissolving injunction were both final decisions rendered on merits;
(2) parties were same as in prior suit or in privity to each other by virtual representation;
(3) due process claim was barred by res judicata;
(4) claim of alleged failure to follow impact report requirements was barred by res judicata;
(5) claim of alleged failure to consult with tribe was barred by res judicata;
(6) claim of alleged failure to update impact report annually was barred by res judicata; and
(7) general allegation that closing emergency room violates the federal trust relationship does not in and of itself state a separate cause of action.
Motion granted.

June

Devia v. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
492 F.3d 421
Nos. 05-1419, 05-1420, 06-1087
United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, June 26, 2007

Subjects: Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians of Utah; Private Fuel Storage (LLC) (Utah); Contested elections -- Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians of Utah; Leadership disputes -- Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians of Utah; Nuclear fuels -- Storage -- Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians of Utah; Radioactive wastes -- Storage -- Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians of Utah; United States. Dept. of the Interior. Board of Indian Appeals; United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

*Synopsis: Association of tribe members petitioned for review of order of Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), granting license for construction and operation of independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI), an away from point-of-generation nuclear repository, on Indian land. Contractor and tribe intervened.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Garland, Circuit Judge, held that petition was not ripe.
Case held in abeyance.

Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land and Cattle Company, Inc.
491 F.3d 878
No. 06-3093
Briefs & Pleadings
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, June 26, 2007
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

Subjects: Debtor and creditor; Jurisdiction -- Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Montana; Law -- Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Montana -- Application.

*Synopsis: Non-Indian bank commenced action, seeking declaratory judgment that tribal court judgment, upholding jury verdict against bank for discriminatory lending practices to Indian owners and their family farming and ranching corporation, was null and void. The United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, 440 F.Supp.2d 1070, Charles B. Kornmann, J., granted owners summary judgment. Bank appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Murphy, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) bank's transactions with owners and corporation were consensual relationships;
(2) tribal tort claim arose under inherent tribal authority to regulate nonmembers' activities and had nexus to parties' consensual relationship;
(3) tribal tort law applied; and
(4) bank was not denied due process.
Affirmed.

Williams v. Gover
490 F.3d 785
No. 04-17482
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, June 20, 2007

Subjects: Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California -- Membership; Sovereignty -- Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California; Tribal membership disputes -- Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California; United States. California Rancheria Termination Act of 1958.

*Synopsis: Potential members of restored Indian tribe, who had been squeezed out of tribe as result of decision to limit tribal membership solely to lineal descendants of those who had received distributions in connection with earlier termination of tribe, brought suit against federal government for allegedly promulgating rule in violation of requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act and for allegedly violating their due process rights. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, William B. Shubb, Chief Judge, entered order dismissing case on defendants' motion to dismiss and for entry of summary judgment, and plaintiffs appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Kleinfeld, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) did not promulgate rule regarding membership in tribe, of kind subject to notice and comment procedure of the Administrative Procedure Act; and
(2) potential members of restored tribe were not denied due process of law when tribal membership was narrowly defined by Indian tribe itself.
Affirmed.

Oglala Sioux Tribe v. C & W Enterprises, Inc.
487 F.3d 1129
No. 06-3480
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, June 11, 2007

Subjects: Mining leases -- Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota; Roads -- Contracts -- -- Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota; Sand and gravel plants -- Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota; Arbitration (Administrative law).

*Synopsis: Following an arbitrator's denial of Indian tribe's motions to dismiss road contractor's claims relating to a road contract and a lease to mine gravel on tribal land, tribe brought action in federal court, asking that contractor be enjoined from pursuing arbitration. The United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, Karen E. Schreier, Chief Judge, dismissed, and tribe appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Wollman, Circuit Judge, held that contractor's claims against tribe were not based on federal law.
Affirmed.

Ford Motor Company v. Todecheene
488 F.3d 1215
Nos. 02-17048, 02-17165
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, June 4, 2007

Subjects: Ford Motor Company; Jurisdiction -- Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah; Exhaustion of tribal remedies; Sovereign immunity -- Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah; Torts; Products liability; Vehicles.

*Synopsis: After parents of tribe member killed in one-vehicle accident on Indian reservation filed product liability action against non-member vehicle manufacturer in tribal court, manufacturer brought action in federal court for declaratory judgment and preliminary injunction. The United States District Court for the District of Arizona, 221 F.Supp.2d 1070, granted preliminary injunction, and parents appealed. Following affirmance, parents moved for rehearing and rehearing en banc. On rehearing, the Court of Appeals, 474 F.3d 1196, remanded to the District Court, and manufacturer moved for rehearing and rehearing en banc.

*Holding: Thereafter the Court of Appeals, amending and superseding its previous opinion, held that tribal court did not "plainly" lack jurisdiction.
Petitions granted in part, denied as moot in part, and denied in part.

South Dakota v. United States Department of Interior
487 F.3d 548
No. 06-1150
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, June 1, 2007

Subjects: South Dakota; United States. Dept. of the Interior; Trust lands -- Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe of South Dakota; Moody County (S.D.); United States. Indian Reorganization Act; Land into trust -- United States.

*Synopsis: State of South Dakota and county brought action for declaratory and injunctive relief against decision of the Department of the Interior (DOI) to take land purchased by Indian tribe into trust for tribe. The United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, Karen E. Schreier, Chief Judge, 401 F.Supp.2d 1000, granted summary judgment for DOI. State and county appealed.

*Holding: On grant of rehearing, the Court of Appeals, Smith, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) DOI authority to place land in trust was not an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power;
(2) Secretary of the Interior acted within his statutory authority in acquiring land in trust for Indian tribe; and
(3) Secretary adequately considered potential jurisdictional and land use problems in deciding to take land into trust.
Affirmed.

Chao v. Matheson
2007 WL 1830738
No. C06-5361RBL
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Tacoma, June 25, 2007

Subjects: United States. Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 -- Application -- Tribes -- Members; Treaty of Medicine Creek (1854); Indian business enterprises -- On Indian reservations.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) There is but one issue remaining in the case: whether the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., applies to the Defendants, who are members of a Native American tribe doing business on tribal land. Plaintiff asserts that the FLSA applies notwithstanding the defendants' status as registered tribal members and the fact their business is on tribal land. Defendants argue that the FLSA does not and cannot apply to them because that Act would conflict with the Treaty of Medicine Creek, and that the Supreme Court has held that the United States Government does not interfere with “purely intramural tribal matters.”

*Holding: not yet available

Nulankeyutmonen Nkihtaqmikon v. Bureau of Indian Affairs
493 F.Supp.2d 91
No. CV-05-188-B-W
United States District Court, D. Maine, June 25, 2007

Subjects: United States. Freedom of Information Act; Nulankeyutmonen Nkihtaqmikon; Factions -- Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine; Liquefied natural gas -- Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine; Building leases -- Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine; Quoddy Bay (Me.); United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs; United States. Dept. of the Interior; Standing to sue.

*Synopsis: Private citizens who were members of Indian tribe brought action under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) against Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), alleging that BIA improperly withheld documents relating to its approval of a lease to operate a liquified natural gas terminal on tribal lands. The District Court, 453 F.Supp.2d 193, granted summary judgment in favor of BIA but stayed decision to allow requesters to decide whether issues raised by their receipt, after the motion was filed, of a response to their FOIA request warranted amendment of complaint. Following filing of amended complaint, the District Court, 450 F.Supp.2d 113, granted summary judgment, as moot, in favor of BIA on first count. Thereafter parties cross-moved for summary judgment.

*Holding: The District Court, Woodcock, Jr., J., held that:
(1) documents were properly withheld under exemption for deliberative inter- or intra-agency communications;
(2) personal e-mail addresses contained in one document were properly redacted under exemption for information the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy;
(3) BIA's search was reasonable and adequate even though there were numerous delays in disclosing responsive documents; and
(4) BIA's failure to find certain documents during its first searches did not establish that it engaged in an impermissible pattern or practice of delayed disclosure.
BIA's motion granted and requesters' motion denied.

Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin v. Village of Hobart
500 F.Supp.2d 1143
No. 06-C-1302
United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin, June 22, 2007

Subjects: Taxation -- Law and legislation -- Wisconsin -- Application -- Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin; Taxation -- Village of Hobart (Wis.); Villages -- On or near Indian reservations -- Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin.

*Synopsis: Native American tribe brought action against village for declaratory and injunctive relief, seeking determination that certain property it purchased within the original boundaries of its reservation was not subject to state laws that authorized the village to impose taxes and special assessments on property within its boundaries. Tribe sought injunctive relief in the form of an order directing village to refund the more than $1.3 million in assessments paid. Village counterclaimed, seeking a declaration that the property acquired by the tribe was subject to village's power to, inter alia, tax and assess. In addition, village sought an injunction directing tribe to pay all unpaid taxes and assessments. Tribe moved to dismiss village's counterclaim.

*Holding: The District Court, Griesbach, J., held that:
(1) counterclaim seeking injunctive relief did not constitute claim for recoupment and was thus barred by sovereign immunity,
(2) but tribe waived immunity from counterclaim seeking declaratory relief.

Blue Legs v. United States Bureau of Indian Affairs
2007 WL 1815994
No. CIV. 06-5001-RHB
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division, June 21, 2007

Subjects: Waste disposal sites -- Rosebud Sioux Tribe of the Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota; United States. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) This litigation commenced in 1985 when plaintiffs brought suit against defendants alleging that the garbage dumps located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation were maintained in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). After lengthy litigation, this Court ordered defendants to bring the sites into compliance.

*Holding: not yet available

Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. Leavitt
497 F.Supp.2d 1245
Civil No. 05-988 WJ/LAM
United States District Court, D. New Mexico, June 15, 2007

Subjects: United States. Dept. of Health and Human Services; United States. Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act; Contracts -- Southern Ute Indian Tribe of the Southern Ute Reservation, Colorado; Medical care --Southern Ute Indian Tribe of the Southern Ute Reservation, Colorado.

*Synopsis: After Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declined to enter into contract allowing Indian tribe to assume control over and management of the programs, functions, services, and activities of reservation health center, tribe brought action under Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEA), seeking damages and injunctive relief. Tribe moved for preliminary injunction and Government moved for summary judgment.

*Holding: Construing tribe's motion for preliminary injunction as a cross-motion for summary judgment, the District Court, Johnson, J., held that:
(1) Government did not have discretion to decline to enter into contract allowing tribe to assume control its health care, and
(2) contract did not violate the Appropriations Clause of the Constitution or the Anti-Deficiency Act.
Ordered accordingly.

All Mission Indian Housing Authority v. Magante
2007 WL 1975909
No. 06cv1678 BTM (NLS)
United States District Court, S.D. California, June 12, 2007

Subjects: United States. Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996; All Mission Indian Housing Authority; Eviction; Housing authorities -- Tribes; Landlord and tenant.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Plaintiff further argues that the federal common law governing landlord-tenant relations for Indian reservations should be developed from the statutory skeleton put in place by the 1996 passage of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (“NAHASDA”). Plaintiff claims that NAHASDA provides the essential features of the uniform national law that Congress wishes to be applied in all federally-funded Indian housing matters.

*Holding: not yet available

Native American Distributing v. Seneca-Cayuga Tobacco Company
491 F.Supp.2d 1056
No. 05-CV-427-TCK-SAJ
United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma, June 5, 2007

Subjects: Seneca-Cayuga Tobacco Company; Tribal business enterprises -- Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma; Native American Distributing (Mo.); Contracts; Jurisdiction -- United States; Sovereign immunity -- Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma.

*Synopsis: Tobacco distribution corporation brought action against tobacco company, a tribal enterprise, and individuals, alleging breach of contract and civil conspiracy. Individual defendants and tobacco company filed separate motions to dismiss.

*Holding: The District Court, Terence Kern, J., held that:
(1) tobacco company was an enterprise of tribe as a governmental entity, and
(2) tribe's sovereign immunity extended to alleged wrongful actions of individual defendants.
Motions granted.

Gerlach v. Brown
2007 WL 1659060
Civil Action Nos. 99-4699 (SRC), 04-3493(SRC)
United States District Court, D. New Jersey, June 5, 2007

Subjects: Indian prisoners -- New Jersey; Freedom of religion -- United States; Religious articles; United States. Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) This case arises out of disputes over the practice of Native American religion by certain inmates in confinement administered by the New Jersey Department of Corrections. The inmate Plaintiffs and the Defendant New Jersey Department of Corrections have agreed on all but two provisions in two sets of guidelines governing inmates' practice of Native American religion: 1) the draft “Level I Internal Management Procedure Title: Guidelines for Religious Practice: Native American;” and 2) the “Level I Internal Management Procedure Title: Guidelines for Religious Practice: Native American Sweat Lodge Ceremonies” (collectively, the “IMPs”). The first provision presently at issue restricts the colors of certain Native American religious articles, permitting them only to be white, while the second provision allows guards to search inmates' religious articles outside the presence of the Supervisor of Chaplaincy Services or the Chaplain during a routine cell search, if the inmate gives permission. The parties have asked this Court to rule on the validity of these two provisions under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-1.

*Holding: not yet available

Central New York Fair Business Association v. Kempthorne
2007 WL 1593727
No. 6:06-CV-1501
United States District Court, N.D. New York, June 1, 2007

Subjects: Land into trust -- New York (State); United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs; Federal question; United States. Administrative Procedure Act; United States. Declaratory Judgment Act; Central New York Fair Business Association.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Plaintiffs filed this action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief related to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”) handling of land-into-trust applications filed by several Indian tribes in New York State, as detailed below. They assert that federal question jurisdiction exists under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 500, 596, and the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201-2202. Plaintiffs further assert that the United States has waived its sovereign immunity from suit under 5 U.S.C. § 702 and 28 U.S.C. § 2209(a).

*Holding: not yet available

May

United States v. Smiskin
487 F.3d 1260
Nos. 05-30590, 05-30591
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, May 18, 2007

Subjects: Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Washington -- Members; Taxation -- Cigarettes -- Transportation -- Washington (State); United States. Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act; Yakama Indians -- Treaties; Notice (Law) -- Washington (State).

*Synopsis: Defendants, tribal members of the Yakama Nation, were indicted on charges of violating the Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act (CCTA). The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, Edward F. Shea, J., 2005 WL 2736562, 2005 WL 1288001, granted defendants' motion to dismiss indictment and denied government's motion for reconsideration. Government appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Paez, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) application of the State of Washington's pre-notification requirement to Yakama tribal members violated the Yakama Treaty and therefore could not serve as the basis for prosecution under the CCTA;
(2) Washington's pre-notification requirement did not fall within the regulatory exception to the inviolability of treaty rights for pure restrictions imposed for a public purpose unrelated to revenue generation; and
(3) the minimal burden test, used in balancing state laws against inherent tribal sovereignty rights, was not applicable.
Affirmed.

Aleman v. Chugach Support Services, Incorporated
485 F.3d 206
No. 06-1461
United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, May 3, 2007

Subjects: United States. Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title 7; Discrimination in employment; Chugach Alaska Corporation; Public contracts -- United States; Alaska Native corporations; Non-Indians.

*Synopsis: Employees brought claims against their employer and its parent company under § 1981 and Title VII claiming unlawful discrimination, as well as claims under Maryland law. The United States District Court for the District of Maryland, William D. Quarles, Jr., J., granted summary judgment for defendants, and appeal was taken.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Wilkinson, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) the exemption for Alaska Native Corporations from suit under Title VII did not immunize employer from suit under the separate and independent cause of action for discrimination established by § 1981;
(2) Caucasian employee had right to protest alleged discrimination visited upon Hispanic employees and to proceed with retaliation claim under § 1981 when he lost his job as a result; and
(3) employees were bound by collective bargaining agreement requiring mandatory arbitration of discrimination claims.
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Schugg v. Gila River Indian Community
2007 WL 1526741
No. CV 05-2045-PHX-JAT
United States District Court, D. Arizona, May 24, 2007

Subjects: Vendors and purchasers; Bankruptcy; Jurisdiction -- United States; Extinguishment of Indian title -- Gila River Indian Community of the Gila River Indian Reservation, Arizona; Parties to actions -- United States; Trusts and trustees -- United States; Quiet title actions -- United States.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The Trustee argues that GRIC's aboriginal title was extinguished when, in 1877, the federal government conveyed Section 16 as school land to the Territory of Arizona.

*Holding: not yet available

Pueblo of Zuni v. United States
243 F.R.D. 436
Civil No. 01-1046 WJ/WPL
United States District Court, D. New Mexico, May 22, 2007

Subjects: Overhead costs; United States. Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act; Contracts -- Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Reservation, New Mexico; Medical care -- Costs -- Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Reservation, New Mexico; Breach of contract -- United States; Self-determination -- Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Reservation, New Mexico; United States. Indian Health Service.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought putative class action seeking damages for government's alleged failure to pay the full contract amounts under contracts between Indian tribes and the Indian Health Service (IHS) that were awarded under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA). Following dismissal, 467 F.Supp.2d 1099, of certain claims, tribe moved for, inter alia, class certification.

*Holding: The District Court, Johnson, J., held that:
(1) existence of unexhausted claims was a jurisdictional defect;
(2) proposed class definition was overbroad;
(3) numerosity requirement for class certification was satisfied;
(4) commonality requirement was not satisfied; and
(5) lead plaintiff did not adequately represent the interests of other tribes in the potential class.
Motion denied.

Oneida Indian Nation of New York v. New York
500 F.Supp.2d 128
No. 574-CV-187 LEK/DRH
United States District Court, N.D. New York, May 21, 2007

Subjects: Indian land transfers -- Oneida Nation of New York; Indian land transfers -- Oneida Tribe Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin; Indian land transfers -- Oneida of the Thames First Nation (Canada); Indian land transfers -- New York (State).

*Synopsis: Three groups of the Oneida Indian Nation brought action against the State of New York and two counties, seeking redress for allegedly unlawful transfers of approximately 250,000 acres of ancestral land in central New York. The United States intervened as plaintiff. The District Court, Kahn, J., 194 F.Supp. 2d 104, struck defendants' laches defense. Defendants filed motion for summary judgment and reconsideration of laches defense.

*Holding: The District Court, Kahn, J., held that:
(1) tribal groups' possessory land claim was barred by laches;
(2) tribal groups' allegations that state obtained seven times amount paid for land when it resold land were sufficient to allege non-possessory claims against State;
(3) non-possessory land claims brought by groups would be treated as contract claim; and
(4) genuine issue of material fact regarding adequacy of compensation for land precluded summary judgment.

Quair v. Sisco
2007 WL 1490571
No. 1:02-CV-5891 DFL
United States District Court, E.D. California, May 21, 2007

Subjects: United States. Indian Civil Rights Act; Exile (Punishment) -- Santa Rosa Indian Community of the Santa Rosa Rancheria, California; Santa Rosa Indian Community of the Santa Rosa Rancheria, California -- Members; Santa Rosa Indian Community of the Santa Rosa Rancheria, California -- Membership; Sovereignty -- Santa Rosa Indian Community of the Santa Rosa Rancheria, California.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) This case arises from the decisions by the General Council of the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Indian Tribe (“the Tribe”) to banish and disenroll petitioners Roselind Quair and Charlotte Berna (“petitioners”). Petitioners contend that the banishment and disenrollment decisions violate the Indian Civil Rights Act (“ICRA”) because petitioners were denied various procedural protections available in federal and state courts. The Tribal Business Committee members of the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Indian Tribe (“respondents”) take the position that ICRA does not override tribal sovereignty, which includes the right of the Tribe to follow its own traditional adjudicatory procedures in banishment and disenrollment proceedings.

*Holding: not yet available

United States v. Papakee
485 F.Supp.2d 1032
No. 06-CR-162-LRR
United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, May 2, 2007

Subjects: Criminal jurisdiction -- United States; Indian Country (U.S.) -- Defined; United States. Major Crimes Act; Sex crimes -- On Indian reservations -- Meskwaki Settlement (Iowa).

*Synopsis: Defendants, residents of the Meskwaki Settlement in Tama County, Iowa, were charged with sexual abuse in Indian country and aggravated sexual abuse in Indian country. Parties were directed to brief whether court had criminal jurisdiction over defendants.

*Holding: The District Court, Linda R. Reade, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) Settlement was "reservation" and thus was "Indian country" for purposes of Indian Major Crimes Act, and
(2) portion of Settlement that was outside boundaries of original reservation "Indian Country" for purposes of Act.
Order accordingly.

Van Kruiningen v. Plan B, LLC
485 F.Supp.2d 92
No. 3:05cv1528 (JBA)
United States District Court, D. Connecticut, May 1, 2007

Subjects: Employees -- Dismissal of -- Mohegan Sun Casino (Conn.); Alcohol -- Law and legislation -- Connecticut -- Application -- Mohegan Indian Tribe of Connecticut; United States. Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title 7; Crime -- Reporting.

*Synopsis: Employees terminated by owner of casino club sued owner for, inter alia, wrongful discharge in violation of Connecticut public policy. Owner moved for judgment on the pleadings as to such claim.

*Holding: The District Court, Janet Bond Arterton, J., held that:
(1) no other statutory remedies were available that would preclude employees' claim;
(2) Connecticut's public policy against serving alcohol to minors applied even though club operated on Indian reservation;
(3) Connecticut had public policy against serving alcohol to minors;
(4) even if general manager of casino club, rather than club's owner, was responsible for alleged serving of alcoholic beverages to minor, such fact would not preclude finding of nexus between owner's actions and public policy; and
(5) allegations of employees' complaint sufficiently alleged intentional violation of public policy.
Motion denied.

April

Gonzales v. Arizona
485 F.3d 1041
Nos. 06-16521, 06-16702, 06-16706
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, April 20, 2007

Subjects: People -- Suffrage -- Arizona; Minorities -- Suffrage -- Arizona; Indians of North America -- Suffrage -- Arizona; Indians of North America -- Political activity -- Arizona; People -- Political activity -- Arizona; Minorities -- Political activity -- Arizona; Voting -- Arizona; Identification cards; United States. Constitution. 24th Amendment; Equality before the law -- United States; United States. National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

*Synopsis: Arizona residents, Indian tribes, and community organizations filed action challenging validity of proposition requiring all persons wishing to register to vote for first time in Arizona to present proof of citizenship. The United States District Court for the District of Arizona, Roslyn O. Silver, J., denied citizen group's motion to intervene, 2006 WL 2246365, and denied preliminary injunctive relief, 2006 WL 3627297. Appeals were taken.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Schroeder, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) proposition did not amount to an unconstitutional poll tax in violation of the Twenty-fourth Amendment;
(2) plaintiffs failed to demonstrate proposition imposed severe burden on Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of the fundamental right to vote;
(3) plaintiffs failed to demonstrate proposition imposed a disproportionate burden on naturalized citizens;
(4) National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) did not prohibit documentation requirements;
(5) balance of hardships favored denying motion for preliminary injunction; and
(6) citizen group failed to demonstrate that State and its officials would not adequately represent group's interests.
Affirmed.

Aroostook Band of Micmacs v. Ryan
484 F.3d 41
Nos. 06-1127, 06-1358
United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit, April 17, 2007

Subjects: Sovereignty -- Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians of Maine; Sovereign immunity -- Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians of Maine; Maine Human Rights Commission; Maine. Maine Human Rights Act; Maine. Maine Whistle Blower Protection Act; Maine. Maine Micmac Settlement Act; Jurisdiction -- Maine; Jurisdiction -- United States; Employees -- Dismissal of.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe challenged state's authority to enforce state employment discrimination laws against it. Parties consented to final disposition by magistrate judge. The district court, 307 F.Supp.2d 95, dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Tribe appealed. The Court of Appeals, 404 F.3d 48, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. On remand, the United States District Court for the District of Maine, Margaret J. Kravchuk, United States Magistrate Judge, 403 F.Supp.2d 114, granted judgment for tribe. State appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Lynch, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) federal Aroostook Band of Micmacs Settlement Act (ABMSA) did not alter federal Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act (MICSA) which subjected Aroostook Band to claims of employment discrimination under state law;
(2) ABMSA and MICSA displaced any federal common law that otherwise might have borne on dispute; and
(3) any aspects of tribal immunity which might have prevented application of Maine's employment laws to individuals employed by Aroostook Band's government were abrogated by provision of MICSA which made Aroostook Band “subject to the laws of the State to the same extent as any other person.”
Reversed and remanded.

Related News Stories: Maine tribe [Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians] loses sovereignty dispute with state (Indianz.com) 4/18/07

Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians v. Ryan
484 F.3d 73
No. 06-1774
United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit, April 17, 2007

Subjects: Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians of Maine; Maine Human Rights Commission; Discrimination in employment -- Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians of Maine; Sovereignty -- Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians of Maine; Sovereign immunity -- Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians of Maine; Maine. Indian Claims Settlement Act.

*Synopsis: Native American Indian tribe brought action against executive director of Maine Human Rights Commission, former tribe employee, and others, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief to stop the Commission from proceeding with former employee's employment discrimination claim against tribe and to bar future discrimination claims. The United States District Court for the District of Maine, 2006 WL 897660, John A. Woodcock, Jr., J., dismissed action.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Lynch, Circuit Judge, held that the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act allowed Maine to enforce its employment discrimination laws against Indian tribes located in the state.
Affirmed.

Michigan v. Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
2007 WL 1238907
No. 5:05-cv-95
United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division, April 27, 2007

Subjects: Breach of contract; Intergovernmental agreements -- Michigan; Intergovernmental agreements -- Tribes -- Michigan; Intergovernmental agreements -- Gaming; Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Michigan; Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Michigan; Michigan Economic Development Corporation; Michigan; United States. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) In this action filed under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (“IGRA”), 25 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq., the State of Michigan and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (collectively the “State”) allege that the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (collectively the “Tribes” unless otherwise indicated) have breached Tribal-State gaming compacts by failing to make payments required by those agreements. Each of the agreements contains an “exclusivity” provision, under which the Tribes agreed to make payments to the State so long as certain conditions are satisfied.

*Holding: not yet available

Mashantucket Pequot Tribe v. Town of Ledyard
2007 WL 1238338
No. 3:06cv1212 (WWE)
United States District Court, D. Connecticut, April 25, 2007

Subjects: Industrial equipment leases -- Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut -- Taxation -- Ledyard (Conn. : Town); Indian gaming -- Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut; Slot machines -- Taxation -- Ledyard (Conn. : Town).

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The Tribe now seeks declaratory judgments that (1) the Town is without authority to include the leased gaming equipment in the Town's list of taxable property; (2) the Town is without authority “to assess, impose, or collect personal property taxes” on such machines and equipment; and (3) the “imposition and/or collection of” taxes on such machines and equipment “is void and illegal.” The Tribe also seeks an injunction prohibiting the Town from including the leased equipment on its grand list and from collecting personal property taxes on such equipment.

*Holding: not yet available

Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation v. Ute Distribution Corporation
2007 WL 1231499
No. 2:06CV557DAK
United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division, April 23, 2007

Subjects: Stockholders -- Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah & Ouray Reservation, Utah; Articles of incorporation -- Ute Distribution Corporation; Sovereign immunity -- Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah & Ouray Reservation, Utah.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The Tribe is the largest shareholder of the UDC. It brought this action when the Ute Distribution Corporation Board of Directors proposed amendments to the UDC Articles of Incorporation that would allegedly have the effect of limiting the Tribe's, or any member of the Tribe's, participation in the UDC. The Complaint alleges that the proposed amendments would prohibit anyone affiliated with the Tribe from serving on the UDC Board of Directors, would allow only members of the Board of Directors to nominate new directors, propose new corporate business, and carry out corporate functions, and would allow removal of a member of the Board of Directors only by a three-fourths majority of the other Board of Directors or by a two-thirds majority of the stockholders for “cause.”

*Holding: not yet available

Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County v. Kempthorne
2007 WL 1200473
No. 06-CV-0001S
United States District Court, W.D. New York, April 20, 2007

Subjects: Indian gaming -- Seneca Nation of New York; Gambling on Indian Reservations -- New York (State); United States. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act; Erie County (N.Y.); Intergovernmental agreements -- Seneca Nation of New York.; Intergovernmental agreements -- New York (State); Quiet title actions; Parties to actions.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Thee Government (“Defendants”) first asks the Court to reconsider its statement that because the Secretary is not charged with the IGRA's administration, the Secretary's interpretation of the IGRA's terms is owed no deference. Defendants second argument is that the Court committed clear error in remanding the NIGC Chairman's decision approving the SNI's Gaming Ordinance. Finally, the Government questions the Court's determination that this action was not subject to dismissal in its entirety for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on the QTA.

*Holding: not yet available

Progressive Specialty Insurance Company v. Burnette
489 F.Supp.2d 955
Civil No. 06-3013
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Central Division, April 19, 2007

Subjects: Automobile insurance claims; Traffic accidents -- On Indian reservations -- Rosebud Sioux Tribe of the Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota; Rosebud Sioux Tribe of the Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota - Members; Insurance, Uninsured motorist.

*Synopsis: Automobile insurer brought action seeking declaration that tribal court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over dispute with tribe member. Parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

*Holding: The District Court, Kornmann, J., held that tribal court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over dispute.
Insurer's motion granted.

Tejesova v. Bone
2007 WL 1160059
No. 2:06CV22
United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, April 18, 2007

Subjects: Traffic accidents -- On Indian reservations -- Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; Jurisdiction -- Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina -- Members.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The Plaintiff alleged jurisdiction based on diversity of citizenship pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The Defendant moved to dismiss claiming that the Plaintiff must first exhaust her remedies in Tribal Court for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The Defendant has filed an affidavit in which he avers that (1) he is a Cherokee Indian who is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; (2) at the time of the accident, the Plaintiff was a resident of the Reservation; (3) the Defendant is a resident of the Reservation; and (4) the accident occurred on the reservation.

*Holding: not yet available

March

United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians of Oklahoma v. United States
480 F.3d 1318
Nos. 06-5003, 06-5021
United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, March 19, 2007

Subjects: United States. Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Nations Claims Settlement Act; United Keetowah Band of Cherokee Indians of Oklahoma -- Compensation for taking; Extinguishment of Indian title -- United Keetowah Band of Cherokee Indians of Oklahoma; Arkansas River; Trusts and trustees -- United States; Breach of trust -- United States; Treaties -- Cherokee Indians; Parties to actions -- Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma; Sovereign immunity -- Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma; Jurisdiction -- United States.

*Synopsis: Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians brought suit against the United States seeking compensation for the extinguishment of all right, title, and interest to Arkansas Riverbed Lands, and damages for breaches of government's fiduciary duties with respect to Arkansas Riverbed Lands and minerals therein. The Cherokee Nation intervened to file motion to dismiss for failure to join indispensable party and for lack of jurisdiction. The United States Court of Federal Claims, Nancy B. Firestone, J., 67 Fed.Cl. 695, granted motion. Band appealed and the United States cross-appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Gajarsa, Circuit Judge, held that Cherokee Nation did not have a sufficient interest to permit it to intervene as party that was necessary to adjudicate Band's action.
Reversed and remanded.

Navajo Nation v. United States Forest Service
479 F.3d 1024
Nos. 06-15371, 06-15436, 06-15455
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, March 12, 2007

Subjects: United States. Forest Service; Arizona Snow Bowl (Ariz.) -- Remodeling; Rites and ceremonies -- Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah; Coconino National Forest (Ariz.); Sacred sites -- Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah.

*Synopsis: Numerous Indian tribes, their members, and environmental organization brought action challenging the Forest Service's decision to authorize upgrades to facilities at an existing ski area in the Coconino National Forest. Following a bench trial, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, Paul G. Rosenblatt, J., 408 F.Supp.2d 866, held that the proposed expansion did not violate Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and granted Forest Service's motion for summary judgment on claims brought under National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Appeal was taken.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, W. Fletcher, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) the proposed use of treated sewage effluent on the San Francisco Peaks to create snow for commercial ski area would impose a substantial burden on the exercise of religion of multiple Indian tribes, as required to establish prima facie claim under the RFRA
(2) the proposed use of treated sewage effluent to create snow for commercial ski area was not a compelling governmental interest by the least restrictive means, as required to outweigh the substantial burden it would put on the exercise of religion by multiple Indian tribes under RFRA;
(3) declining to allow a commercial ski resort in a national forest to put treated sewage effluent on a sacred mountain to create artificial snow was an accommodation that fell far short of an Establishment Clause violation; and
(4) Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) did not satisfy NEPA with respect to the risks of ingesting artificial snow made from treated sewage effluent for commercial ski resort.
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Related News Stories: 9th Circuit blocks snowmaking at sacred peaks (Indianz.com) 3/12/07

Blackmoon v. Charles Mix County
505 F.Supp.2d 585
No. CIV 05-4017
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division, March 30, 2007

Subjects: Indians of North America -- South Dakota -- Charles Mix County; Election districts -- Charles Mix County (S.D.); Voting -- Charles Mix County (S.D.); Indians of North America -- Suffrage -- South Dakota; United States. Voting Rights Act of 1965; United States. Constitution. 14th Amendment; United States. Constitution. 15th Amendment. Apportionment (Election law).

*Synopsis: Following finding, 2005 WL 2738954, in favor of Native American voters in their action challenging the apportionment of county commission districts, as to claim under the one-person-one-vote standard of the Equal Protection Clause, they moved for further relief, and defendants moved for summary judgment and to dismiss remaining claims.

*Holding: The District Court, Lawrence L. Piersol, J., held that:
(1) special remedies provided in the Voting Rights Act (VRA) were not available to voters as to claim under the one-person-one-vote standard of the Equal Protection Clause, but
(2) claims arising under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and the VRA were not moot, despite fact that the voting districts had been changed.
Motions denied.

San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians v. California
2007 WL 935578
No. 06cv0988-LAB (AJB)
United States District Court, S.D. California, March 20, 2007

Subjects: Indian gaming -- Class III -- San Pasqual Band of Diegueno Mission Indians of California; Intergovernmental agreements -- San Pasqual Band of Diegueno Mission Indians of California; Intergovernmental agreements -- California; Gambling on Indian reservations -- California.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The tribe seeks a judicial determination of the question: what is the correct number of Class III Gaming Device licenses authorized in the aggregate by the State Aggregate Limit formula contained in San Pasqual's Tribal-State Gaming Compact?

*Holding: not yet available

Rosales v. United States
477 F.Supp.2d 213
Civil Action No. 07-162 (RMC)
United States District Court, District of Columbia, March 19, 2007

Subjects: Casinos -- Design and construction -- Jamul Indian Village of California; Burial sites -- Jamul Indian Village of California; United States. Native American Graves and Repatriation Act; Contested elections -- Jamul Indian Village of California; Constitutions -- Jamul Indian Village of California; Indian blood quantum -- Jamul Indian Village of California; United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs; United States. Indian Reorganization Act; United States. Administrative Procedure Act.

*Synopsis: Plaintiffs, members of Native American village, brought action under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) against the Department of the Interior (DOI) and others, seeking to stop construction of a hotel/casino on property belonging to the Village. Plaintiffs' motions for a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order (TRO) were denied, leaving the court to consider defendants' motion to transfer venue.

*Holding: The District Court, Collyer, J., held that transfer of venue to Southern District of California was appropriate.
Motion granted.

Wisconsin v. Ho-Chunk Nation
478 F.Supp.2d 1093
No. 05-C-632-S
United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin, March 9, 2007

Subjects: Gambling on Indian reservations -- Wisconsin; Indian gaming -- Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin (formerly known as the Wisconsin Winnebago Tribe; Intergovernmental agreements -- Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin (formerly known as the Wisconsin Winnebago Tribe); Intergovernmental agreements -- Wisconsin; Jurisdiction -- United States; United States. United States Arbitration Act; United States. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

*Synopsis: In dispute over Indian tribe's failure to make certain payments to State, following grant, 402 F.Supp. 2d, of motion to compel arbitration, the Court of Appeals, 463 F.3d 655, vacated and remanded. The District Court, 2006 WL 3813654, granted State's motion to amend complaint to seek declaratory and injunctive relief, to allege breach of contract, and to compel performance under the compact terms. Tribe moved to dismiss or for summary judgment.

*Holding: The District Court, John C. Shabaz, J., held that:
(1) District Court had subject matter jurisdiction over State's action seeking to enjoin class III gaming activity on tribe's lands;
(2) tribe was in breach of contract for failing to make required payments; but
(3) tribe was not in breach of contract on basis of any refusal to negotiate or arbitrate; and
(4) Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) was applicable for purposes of State's claims to compel arbitration.
Motions denied in part and granted in part.

Rosales v. United States
477 F.Supp.2d 119
Civil Action No. 03-1117 (GK)
United States District Court, District of Columbia, March 8, 2007

Subjects: Contested elections -- Jamul Indian Village of California; Constitutions -- Jamul Indian Village of California; Indian blood quantum -- Jamul Indian Village of California; United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs; United States. Indian Reorganization Act; United States. Administrative Procedure Act.

*Synopsis: Members of Native American village brought action, under the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), against, inter alia, the Interior Board of Indian Appeals (IBIA), contesting the validity of an amendment to the Village Constitution which lowered the blood-quantum requirement for tribal membership and voter registration. Parties cross-moved for summary judgment.

*Holding: The District Court, Kessler, J., held that:
(1) determination of the IBIA which upheld decision not to postpone tribal election was not arbitrary, capricious, contrary to law, or an abuse of discretion;
(2) determination that certain members of Indian Village were barred from contesting the validity of the amendment because they were not qualified voters, did not violate any federal statute and was not plainly erroneous or inconsistent with the regulation; and
(3) determination which upheld results of 2001 tribal election was reasonable, and thus challenges to two prior elections were moot.
Plaintiffs' motion denied and defendants' motion granted.

Barnes v. Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation
2007 WL 735704
No. 3:06-CV-693 (RNC)
United States District Court, D. Connecticut, March 5, 2007

Subjects: Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise -- Employees; Employees, Dismissal of -- Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut; Discrimination in employment -- Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut; Casinos -- Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut; United States. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; Sovereign immunity -- Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut; Jurisdiction -- United States.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Plaintiff brings this action against his former employer, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation (“Tribe”), and five of its employees, alleging employment discrimination in violation of 42 U.S .C. §§ 2000e, et seq. (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq. (“ADA”), and 29 U.S.C. §§ 701 et seq. (“Rehabilitation Act”).

*Holding: not yet available

United States of America v. Nastacio
2007 WL 1302617
No. CR 05-2047 JB
United States District Court, D. New Mexico, March 5, 2007

Subjects: Prison sentences -- United States; Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Reservation, New Mexico -- Prisons; Drunk driving -- On Indian reservations -- Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Reservation, New Mexico.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The primary issues are: (i) whether Defendant Billy D. Nastacio spent seventeen days or two months in the Zuni Jail on tribal charges related to this federal offense; (ii) whether the Court should grant Nastacio a downward departure pursuant to U.S.S.G. §§ 5G1.3(b) and 5K2.23, because he served time in the Zuni Jail for charges related to this offense; (iii) whether the Court should grant Nastacio a downward departure under the Guidelines because his case does not fall within the heartland of aggravated assault cases; and (iv) whether the Court should vary from the Guidelines because the guideline imprisonment range is not reasonable.

*Holding: not yet available

February

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community v. Rising
477 F.3d 881
No. 05-2398
United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, February 28, 2007

Subjects: Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan; Cigarette vendors -- Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan -- Taxation -- Michigan; Casinos -- Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan; Cigarettes -- Taxation -- On Indian reservations -- Michigan; Searches and seizures -- Michigan; Non-members of the tribe -- On Indian reservations -- Taxation -- Michigan; United States. Constitution. Supremacy Clause; Sovereign immunity -- Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe sued Michigan state treasurer and state police officers, challenging state's efforts to tax tobacco products sold by tribe, and challenging searches and seizures of tobacco products shipped to tribe. The United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, 2005 WL 2207224, Bell, C.J., granted defendants' motions for summary judgment, and tribe appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Martin, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) incidence of state's cigarette excise tax fell on non-tribal consumers rather than on tribal retailers who made sales to non-members, and thus was valid;
(2) excise tax did not impose more than minimal burden on tribe by virtue of its prepayment requirement;
(3) tax comported with treaty between tribe's predecessors and federal government;
(4) state's search of packages sent to tribe through mail, and seizure of contraband cigarettes, did not infringe Supremacy Clause or exclusive federal authority over mails;
(5) tribe's sovereign immunity did not preclude search of mail packages; and
(6) search warrants for mail packages met particularity requirement of Fourth Amendment.
Affirmed.

Cermak v. United States, ex rel. Department of Interior
478 F.3d 953
No. 06-1686
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, February 28, 2007

Subjects: Trust lands -- Scott County (Minn.); United States. Dept. of the Interior; Norton, Gale A.; Inheritance and succession -- Mdewakanton Indians; Trusts and trustees.

*Synopsis: Descendants of member of Mdewakanton band of Sioux Indians brought action claiming that Department of Interior had wrongfully deprived them of their rights in parcels of land that had been assigned to member in 1944 through issuance of Indian Land Certificates. The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, David S. Doty, J., granted summary judgment for Department. Plaintiffs appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Loken, Chief Circuit Judge, held that Interior Board of Indian Appeals (IBIA) did not abuse its discretion in denying request made by heirs to assignee of Indian Land Certificates to reopen its decision.
Affirmed.

United States v. Falcon
477 F.3d 573
No. 06-1438
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, February 14, 2007

Subjects: Trials (Embezzlement) -- Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota-- Officials and employees; Trials (Conspiracy) -- Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota -- Officials and employees.

*Synopsis: Defendant was convicted, in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota, Ralph R. Erickson, J., of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, and two counts of embezzlement or misapplication of funds from Indian tribal organization.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Melloy, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) jury instruction for embezzlement charge required jury to find that defendant had specific intent to misapply the funds;
(2) deliberate indifference jury instruction was warranted;
(3) any error in submission of instructions was not plain; and
(4) evidence was sufficient to support embezzlement conviction.
Affirmed.

San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino v. National Labor Board Relations
475 F.3d 1306
No. 05-1392
United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, February 9, 2007

Subjects: United States. National Labor Relations Board; Jurisdiction; Indian business enterprises; United States. National Labor Relations Act; San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino (Calif.); San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians of the San Manual Reservation, California; Gambling on Indian reservations -- San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians of the San Manual Reservation, California; Indian gaming -- San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians of the San Manual Reservation, California; Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees International Union; AFL-CIO; Communications Workers of America.

*Synopsis: In this case, we consider whether the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) may apply the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 151 et seq. (the “NLRA”), to employment at a casino the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians (“San Manuel” or the “Tribe”) operates on its reservation. The casino employs many non-Indians and caters primarily to non-Indians. We hold the Board may apply the NLRA to employment at this casino, and therefore we deny the petition for review.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Brown, Circuit Judge, held that NLRA applied to an Indian-owned casino, which was operated on tribe's reservation, employed many non-Indians and catered primarily to non-Indians.
Cross-application for enforcement granted.

Related News Stories: California tribe loses major sovereignty court case (Indianz.com) 2/12/07, Tribes not exempt from U.S. labor laws (AP) 2/9/07

Arakaki v. Lingle
477 F.3d 1048
No. 04-15306
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, February 9, 2007

Subjects: Government -- Programs -- Hawaii; Native Hawaiians; Hawaii. Office of Hawaiian Affairs; Taxation -- Hawaii; Equality before the law -- Hawaii; Finance -- United States; Standing to sue -- United States; Trust lands -- United States; Public lands -- United States; Leases -- United States.

*Synopsis: Citizens of Hawaii sued United States, state officers, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), Hawaiian Homes Commission (HHC), and Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), alleging that various state programs gave preferential treatment to persons of Hawaiian ancestry in violation of equal protection principles and terms of public lands trust. The United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, Susan Oki Mollway, J., 198 F.Supp.2d 1165, denied temporary restraining order, then granted in part and denied in part motions to dismiss and denied motions for reconsideration, 299 F.Supp.2d 1090, 299 F.Supp.2d 1107, 299 F.Supp.2d 1114, 299 F.Supp.2d 1129, and, finally, dismissed entire action, 305 F.Supp.2d 423 F.3d 954 1161. Citizens appealed. The Court of Appeals, , affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded, and petition for certiorari was made by state, and granted, and the Supreme Court, 126 S.Ct. 2859, vacated and remanded.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Bybee, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) state citizens did not have standing, as purported trust beneficiaries, to sue United States for its alleged enforcement of trust;
(2) United States was indispensable party to claims in which Hawaii citizens sought to challenge constitutionality, under equal protection principles, of lease eligibility requirements for land held in public lands trust;
(3) citizens lacked standing, as state taxpayers, to challenge programs administered by Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) in alleged violation of equal protection principles;
(4) taxpayers' lack of standing to sue United States did not bar taxpayers' claims against OHA;
(5) United States was indispensable party with respect to state citizens' equal protection challenge to expenditures by OHA;
(6) nonjusticiable political question had not been presented; and
(7) district court did not abuse its discretion in striking counter-motion for summary judgment.
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation v. Wagnon
476 F.3d 818
No. 03-3322
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, February 6, 2007

Subjects: Motor vehicles -- Registration and transfer -- Prairie Band of Potawatomi Indians, Kansas; Motor vehicles -- Registration and transfer -- Kansas; Jurisdiction -- Kansas; Jurisdiction -- Prairie Band of Potawatomi Indians, Kansas.

*Synopsis: Native American tribe sought order requiring Kansas state officials to grant recognition to motor vehicle registrations and titles issued by tribe. The United States District Court for the District of Kansas, 276 F.Supp.2d 1168, Julie A. Robinson, J., granted summary judgment for tribe. State officials appealed. The Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, 402 F.3d 1015, affirmed. On grant of certiorari, the United States Supreme Court vacated and remanded.

*Holding: On remand, the Court of Appeals, McKay, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) officials' refusal to grant recognition to motor vehicle registrations and titles issued by tribe located within the state impermissibly discriminated against tribe;
(2) officials were not entitled to sovereign immunity; and
(3) permanent injunction did not violate the Tenth Amendment.
Affirmed decisions of the District Court and Court of Appeals.

Susanville Indian Rancheria v. Leavitt
2007 WL 662197
No. 2:07-cv-259-GEB-DAD
United States District Court, E.D. California, February 28, 2007

Subjects: Health facilities -- Susanville Indian Rancheria, California; United States. Indian Health Service; Intergovernmental agreements -- United States; Intergovernmental agreements -- Susanville Indian Rancheria, California; Medical care, Cost of; Drugs -- Costs.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Plaintiff moves for a preliminary injunction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(a) and 25 U.S.C. § 450m-1, in which it seeks to enjoin Defendants “from excluding [Plaintiff]'s pharmacy services component from the programs authorized under [Plaintiff]'s self-governance Compact and Calendar Year 2007 Funding Agreement ... and [a court order] directing Defendants to sign the Compact and CY 2007 Funding Agreement and provide such funding as is authorized under these agreements without imposing any condition that would prevent [Plaintiff] from charging beneficiaries for services.”

*Holding: not yet available

Michigan Gambling Opposition ("MichGO") v. Norton
477 F.Supp.2d 1
Civil Action No. 05-01181 (JGP)
United States District Court, District of Columbia, February 23, 2007

Subjects: Gambling on Indian reservations -- Michigan; Indian gaming -- Class III -- Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan; United States. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act; Building sites; United States. National Environmental Policy Act of 1969; Environmental impact statements; Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI); Intergovernmental agreements -- Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan; Intergovernmental agreements -- Michigan; Land into trust.

*Synopsis: Michigan non-profit corporation brought action challenging federal defendants' decision to place two parcels of land into trust for Indian band for a proposed casino. The band intervened. The Federal defendants filed motion to dismiss or in the alternative for summary judgment and the band moved for judgment on the pleadings or, in the alternative, for summary judgment.

*Holding: The District Court, John Garrett Penn, J., held that:
(1) land taken into trust by Secretary of the Interior was not Indian band's “initial reservation” within meaning of Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA);
(2) finding of no significant impact (FONSI) relating to proposed casino site's impact on its surrounding communities, traffic, and other indirect effects was not arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion;
(3) absence of a tribal-state compact required for Class III gaming did not prevent federal defendants from acquiring proposed casino site; and
(4) provision of Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) authorizing Secretary of the Interior to acquire land for Indians did not violate the non-delegation doctrine.
Defendants' and intervenor's motions granted.

United States v. Martinez
505 F.Supp.2d 1024
No. CR 02-1055 JB
United States District Court, D. New Mexico, February 16, 2007

Subjects: United States. Federal Death Penalty Act; Capital punishment -- United States; Capital punishment -- Law and legislation -- United States -- Application -- On Indian reservations; Murder (Trials) -- Pueblo of San Juan, New Mexico -- Members.

*Synopsis: Defendant charged with first-degree murder in Indian country moved to dismiss the indictment.

*Holding: The District Court, Browning, J., in a matter of first impression, held that:
(1) Indian tribe's decision not to opt for application of the federal death penalty for death penalty offenses did not render offense of first-degree murder committed within tribe's jurisdiction ?non-capital,? for limitations purposes, and
(2) District Court would not decide whether prior indictment tolled limitations period.
Motion denied.

Ferguson v. SMSC Gaming Enterprise
475 F.Supp.2d 929
No. 06-CV-3743(JMR/FLN)
United States District Court, D. Minnesota, February 15, 2007

Subjects: Casinos -- Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota Prior Lake; Employees, DIsmissal of -- SMSC Gaming Enterprise; Government agencies -- Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota Prior Lake; Sovereign immunity -- SMSC Gaming Enterprise; United States. Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Title 7; African Americans -- Employment; Discrimination in employment -- Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota Prior Lake.

*Synopsis: African-American employee of Indian casino brought Title VII action against entity that operated casino and his supervisor. Defendants moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

*Holding: The District Court, James M. Rosenbaum, J., held that:
(1) entity that operated Indian casino was immune from Title VII action;
(2) tribe's sovereign immunity protected supervisor claims against supervisor in his official capacity; and
(3) Title VII did not allow claims against Indian tribes or against employees in their individual capacity.
Motion granted.

Osage Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma v. United States of America
75 Fed.Cl. 462
No. 99-550 L
United States Court of Federal Claims, February 15, 2007

Subjects: Tribal trust funds -- Osage Tribe of Oklahoma; Fiduciary accountability -- United States; Beneficiaries; Breach of trust -- United States; Trusts and trustees -- Accounting -- United States; Mines and mineral resources -- Osage Tribe of Oklahoma; Revenue -- Osage Tribe of Oklahoma.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought suit against the United States alleging that government violated its duty as trustee of tribe's mineral estate by failing to collect all moneys due from tribal oil leases and to deposit and invest those moneys as required by statute and according to fiduciary duty owed to tribe. Government was found liable for breach of fiduciary duties, 72 Fed.Cl. 629, and parties filed joint submission on calculation of damages.

*Holding: The United States Court of Federal Claims, Hewitt, J., held that:
(1) oil royalty rate proposed by tribe would be adopted for purposes of assessing damages for government's breach of fiduciary duty in failing to collect full royalties during period of price controls;
(2) tribe was entitled to interest damages on amounts government failed to collect and on amounts government failed properly to invest in accordance with its fiduciary duties owed to the tribe;
(3) long-term investment rates were the appropriate rates to determine interest damages; and
(4) tribe was not entitled to recover late payment fees from the government under regulation.
So ordered.

Cottier v. City of Martin
475 F.Supp.2d 932
No. CIV 02-5021-KES
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division, February 9, 2007

Subjects: United States. Voting Rights Act of 1965; Election districts -- Martin (S.D.); Apportionment (Election law); United States. Constitution. 14th Amendment; United States. Constitution. 15th Amendment; American Civil Liberties Union.

*Synopsis: Action was brought on behalf of Native American voters challenging configuration of city wards as violative of § 2 of Voting Rights Act and Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. City's ordinance, which fragmented Native American voters into three wards, was found to violate § 2 of the Voting Act, at 466 F.Supp.2d 1175.

*Holding: The District Court, Schreier, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) it would impose remediation plan adopting an at-large voting scheme using cumulative voting, rather than division of city into aldermanic wards;
(2) the remediation plan achieved precise population equality, as required under the Fourteenth Amendment's one-person-one-vote requirement;
(3) exceptional circumstances warranted deviating from preference for single-member districts;
(4) the remediation plan did not violate § 2 and nonretrogression standard of § 5 of the Voting Rights Act; and
(5) the remediation plan did not intrude on state policy more than was necessary to uphold the requirements of the Constitution.
Ordered accordingly.

Medina v. Jicarilla Apache Housing Authority
2007 WL 1176023
No. Civ. 06-877 BB/DJS
United States District Court, D. New Mexico, February 2, 2007

Subjects: Indian preference in hiring -- Jicarilla Apache Nation, New Mexico; Employees, Dismissal of -- Jicarilla Apache Housing Authority (N.M.) ; Sovereign immunity -- Jicarilla Apache Nation, New Mexico; United States. Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title 6.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Unless a tribe has clearly waived its immunity or Congress expressly abrogated that immunity by authorizing suit, a suit against an Indian tribe is barred.

*Holding: not yet available

Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians v. County of Madera
2007 WL 397412
No. C 06-7613 JF (PVT)
United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division, February 1, 2007

Subjects: Construction -- Licenses -- California -- Madera County; Hotels -- Design and construction -- Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California; Indian gaming -- Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The Tribe asserts that the County and its officials are interfering with the Tribe's rights as guaranteed by the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (“IGRA”), 25 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq. The Tribe also asserts that its assertion of its rights to occupy and control its tribal lands is an independent source of federal jurisdiction.

*Holding: not yet available

January

Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians v. Granholm
475 F.3d 805
Nos. 05-2146, 05-2603
United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, January 30, 2007

Subjects: Gambling on Indian reservations -- Michigan; Indian gaming -- Class III -- Tribes -- Michigan; United States. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

*Synopsis: State moved to compel compliance with consent judgment which set forth guidelines for operation of Indian casinos and method of calculating payments to local communities. The United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Gordon J. Quist, J., held that promotional tokens had value and were monetary “wagers” under consent judgment calculations for determining payments and granted state's motion. Indian tribe appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Clay, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) case was not mooted when Indian casino ceased using promotional tokens;
(2) court committed reversible error in failing to consider Indian casino's extrinsic evidence to determine whether latent ambiguity existed with respect to meaning of “wager” in consent judgment; and
(3) extrinsic evidence presenting gaming industry standards for promotional play and industry accounting practices was relevant to appropriate value to assign promotional tokens.
Reversed and remanded. Katz, District Judge, filed concurring opinion.

Dobbs v. Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield
475 F.3d 1176
No. 05-1319
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, January 30, 2007

Subjects: Southern Ute Indian Tribe of the Southern Ute Reservation, Colorado -- Employees; United States. Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974; Preemption of state law -- Colorado; Insurance, Health.

*Synopsis: Beneficiaries of group health insurance policy purchased under employee benefit plan established by Indian tribe brought suit against health insurer in state court, asserting state-law causes of action. Insurer removed action and moved to dismiss all claims on basis of preemption under Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The United States District Court for the District of Colorado dismissed claims, and beneficiaries appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Tacha, Chief Judge, held that remand was necessitated by intervening change in ERISA definition of “governmental plan [s]” to determine in first instance if plan fell within revised definition such that ERISA preemption did not apply.
Vacated and remanded.

State of South Dakota v. United States Department of Interior
475 F.3d 993
No. 06-1150
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, January 29, 2007

Subjects: South Dakota; United States. Dept. of the Interior; Trust lands -- Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe of South Dakota; Moody County (S.D.); United States. Indian Reorganization Act.

*Synopsis: State of South Dakota and county brought action for declaratory and injunctive relief against decision of the Department of the Interior (DOI) to take purchased land into trust for Indian tribe. The United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, Karen E. Schrier, C.J., 401 F.Supp.2d 1000, granted summary judgment for DOI. State and county appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Smith, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) DOI authority to place land in trust was not an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power;
(2) Secretary of the Interior (DOI) acted within his statutory authority in acquiring land in trust for indian tribe; and
(3) land taken into trust constituted "Indian country."
Affirmed.

Walters v. United States
474 F.3d 1137
No. 06-2705
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, January 29, 2007

Subjects: Traffic accidents -- On Indian reservations -- Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of the Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota; United States. Federal Tort Claims Act; Roads, Gravel -- Maintenance and repair -- United States; United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

*Synopsis: Several persons injured in car accidents on stretch of road within Indian reservation brought claims against the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), alleging failure to maintain road. The United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, Charles B. Kornmann, J., granted summary judgment to government. Accident victims appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Bye, Circuit Judge, held that discretionary function exception barred suit.
Affirmed.

Lebeau v. United States
474 F.3d 1334
No. 06-1072
United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, January 24, 2007

Subjects: United States. Mississippi Sioux Tribes Judgment Fund Distribution Act of 1998; Judgments; United States. "Little" Tucker Act; Breach of trust -- United States.

*Synopsis: Lineal descendents of Indian tribe members brought action against United States under Little Tucker Act, seeking an award of money damages for the government's alleged breach of trust in unreasonably delaying the distribution of a judgment fund. The United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, Lawrence L. Piersol, Chief Judge, 334 F.Supp.2d 1200, entered summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs. United States appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Schall, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) descendents' rights to timely distribution of share of Mississippi Sioux Tribes Judgment Fund under 1972 Distribution Act were not vested and, therefore, were subject to modification by Congress prior to distribution, and
(2) Congress's 1998 reallocation of the descendants' share of the Fund extinguished the government's liability for a breach of trust by the Secretary of Interior.
Reversed and remanded.

Felter v. Kempthorne
473 F.3d 1255
No. 06-5092
United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, January 19, 2007

Subjects: Uinta Indians; Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah & Ouray Reservation, Utah; Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah & Ouray Reservation, Utah. Ute Partition and Termination Act; United States. Dept. of the Interior; Uinta Band of Ute Indians -- Members; Uinta Band of Ute Indians -- Termination; Uinta Band of Ute Indians -- Legal status, laws, etc.; Limitation of actions.

*Synopsis: Plaintiffs, claiming to be “mixed-blood” members of the Ute Indian Tribe, brought action against the Department of the Interior (DOI), alleging that the Ute Partition & Termination Act (UPA) wrongfully terminated their status as federally recognized Indians and deprived them of reservation assets. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Roberts, J., 412 F.Supp.2d 118, granted DOI's motion to dismiss. Plaintiffs appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Tatel, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) action accrued when plaintiffs' status as recognized Indians was terminated and the reservation's assets were distributed;
(2) lasting effects of termination were not continuing violations;
(3) equitable tolling did not apply; but
(4) remand was required to determine whether six-year limitations period for civil actions brought against the United States was modified by the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
Remanded.

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board
472 F.3d 949
Nos. 06-2218, 06-2317
United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, January 4, 2007
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

Subjects: Voting -- Indiana; Suffrage -- Indiana; Residency requirements; Voters (People) -- Identification; United States. Voting Rights Act of 1965; Marion County (Ind.).

*Synopsis: Political party, party committee, state representative, elected public official, and nonprofit organizations brought action against county election board, Secretary of State, and Election Division directors, challenging state law requiring photo identification to vote, as violative of the constitution and the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Attorney General intervened on behalf of state. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Sarah Evans Barker, J., 458 F.Supp.2d 775, 2006 WL 1005037, granted summary judgment in favor of defendants. Plaintiffs appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Posner, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) political party had standing to challenge constitutionality of state law, and
(2) state law was not an undue burden on the right to vote.
Affirmed.

Nord v. Kelly
474 F.Supp.2d 1088
Civil No. 05-1135 (PJS/RLE)
United States District Court, D. Minnesota, January 31, 2007

Subjects: Traffic accidents -- On Indian reservations -- Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Minnesota; Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Minnesota -- Members; Non-members of a tribe; Personal injuries -- Cases; Jurisdiction -- Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Minnesota.

*Synopsis: Non-Native American driver of semi-truck, and his father, whose business owned semi-truck, brought action against member of Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians and Red Lake Nation Tribal Court, seeking declaration that Tribal Court lacked personal jurisdiction over driver and father, who were sued by member in Tribal Court for personal injuries sustained by member in automobile accident that occurred on Red Lake Indian Reservation. Driver and father moved for summary judgment. Tribal Court moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim or, in the alternative, for order continuing summary judgment and permitting discovery.

*Holding: The District Court, Schiltz, J., held that:
(1) truck driver possessed no consensual relationship with the tribe or its members at the time of accident, and thus tribe retained no authority over driver pursuant to Montana exception;
(2) injuries to tribal member did not affect the economic security and the health and welfare of the tribe, for purposes of Montana exception; and
(3) truck driver was not required to exhaust tribal court remedies before seeking a federal injunction.
Motion for summary judgment granted, and motion to dismiss denied.

Native American Arts, Inc. v. Doll Market, Inc.
2007 WL 257640
No. 06 C 0195
United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division, January 25, 2007

Subjects: Native American Arts (Ill.); Doll Market, Inc.; United States. Indian Arts & Crafts Act.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Plaintiff Native American Arts, Inc. has brought this action against Defendant Doll Market, Inc.), alleging that Doll Market falsely represented goods it sold as Indian-made in violation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, 25 U.S.C. § 305(e) (“IACA”).

*Holding: not yet available

Colebut v. Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Tribal Elders Council
2007 WL 174384
No. 3:05CV00247 (DJS)
United States District Court, D. Connecticut, January 19, 2007

Subjects: Tribal membership disputes -- Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut; Exile (Punishment) -- Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut; Habeas corpus.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) On February 8, 2005, Petitioner Neorck Colebut (“Petitioner”) filed with the court a petition challenging his temporary banishment by Respondent Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Tribal Elders Council (“Respondent”) from the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation (“the Tribe”) and seeking a writ of habeas corpus directing the reinstatement of his former status as a member of the Tribe.

*Holding: not yet available

Tejesova v. Bone
2007 WL 1160058
No. 2:06CV22
United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Bryson City Division, January 18, 2007

Subjects: Traffic accidents -- On Indian reservations -- Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; Jurisdiction -- Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina -- Members.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Thus, there is a “colorable question” as to whether the Tribal Court of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has jurisdiction, and under prevailing case law as well as Supreme Court precedent, this court must afford the Tribal Court the first opportunity to determine its own jurisdiction as a matter of comity. Only after plaintiff has exhausted her tribal remedies may she come back to federal court.

*Holding: not yet available

United States v. State of Washington
2007 WL 171904
No. CV 9213
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Seattle, January 18, 2007

Subjects: Fishing rights -- Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe of Washington; Fishing rights -- Skokomish Indian Tribe of the Skokomish Reservation, Washington; Harvest; Hood Canal (Wash.); Hood Canal Agreement (1982).

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) This matter was initiated as a Cross-Request for Determination filed by the Skokomish Indian Tribe (“Skokomish”) in Subproceeding 05-01, asking that the Court “determine and declare an equitable treaty fishing harvest allocation for the available harvest of all species of finfish and shellfish in Hood Canal.” Dkt. # 55. This Cross-Request was bifurcated from Subproceeding 05-01 and opened as a separate Subproceeding. The Port Gamble and Jamestown S'Klallam Tribes (“S'Klallam”) then moved to dismiss on the basis of lack of subject matter jurisdiction, res judicata and standing. The Court found reason to dismiss on both jurisdictional and res judicata grounds, and did not reach the standing argument.

*Holding: not yet available

Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County v. Kempthorne
471 F.Supp.2d 295
No. 06-CV-0001S
United States District Court, W.D. New York, January 12, 2007

Subjects: Indian gaming -- Seneca Nation of New York.; Gambling on Indian Reservations -- New York (State); United States. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act; Erie County (N.Y.); Intergovernmental agreements -- Seneca Nation of New York.; Intergovernmental agreements -- New York (State); Quiet title actions; Parties to actions.

*Synopsis: Casino opponents brought action for declaratory and injunctive relief against the Department of the Interior, the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), and officials of both agencies, claiming defendants violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) in approving tribal gaming ordinance and in declining to disapprove tribal-state compact, thereby permitting Indian tribe to construct a gambling casino on land it purchased in city with funds appropriated pursuant to the Seneca Nation Settlement Act (SNSA). Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. Casino opponents filed joint motion for summary judgment. Indian tribe filed motion for leave to file an amicus brief seeking dismissal of the complaint.

*Holding: The District Court, William M. Skretny, J., held that:
(1) tribe's participation as an amicus curiae was appropriate;
(2) neither the tribe nor the State was a necessary party to the action;
(3) action did not fall within the Quiet Title Act's (QTA's) reservation of federal government's sovereign immunity;
(4) NIGC chairman's approval of the gaming ordinance, without making determination as to whether land designated for construction of the casino was gaming-eligible Indian land, was not the result of reasoned decision-making; and
(5) Secretary of the Interior's letter opinion was not a final agency action subject to review.
Ordered accordingly.

In re Harper
2007 WL 45918
Nos. 06-076, 05-13352-R, 05-01151-R
United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Tenth Circuit, January 9, 2007

Subjects: Automobiles -- Registration and transfer -- Muscogee (Creek) Nation; Muscogee (Creek) Nation Tax Commission; Liens -- Oklahoma; Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Oklahoma -- Members; Automobiles -- Registration and transfer -- Law and legislation -- Oklahoma; Debtor and creditor -- Oklahoma.

*Synopsis: Chapter 7 trustee brought adversary proceeding to avoid credit union's lien against debtors' vehicle. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma entered judgment in trustee's favor and denied credit union's motion for new trial. Credit union appealed.

*Holding: The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, McNiff, J., held that:
(1) credit union did not have perfected security interest in vehicle;
(2) state statute deeming valid security interest in vehicle registered by federally recognized Indian tribe under certain circumstances did not apply to credit union's lien;
(3) credit union did not have purchase-money security interest in debtors' vehicle; and
(4) credit union was not entitled to equitable subrogation.
Affirmed.

United States v. Taylor
2007 WL 87746
Criminal No. 2:99CR13
United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Bryson City Division, January 9, 2007

Subjects: Restitution -- Members -- Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; Profit-sharing -- Members -- Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; Attachment and garnishment -- North Carolina -- Members -- Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; Casinos -- Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; Assault and battery; Jurisdiction -- Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) On March 11, 2005, the undersigned issued a writ of continuing garnishment which provided notice to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Defendant that the Government sought to garnish his per capita distribution of gaming proceeds in order to pay restitution. Writ of Continuing Garnishment, filed March 11, 2005 . The United States served the writ on May 13, 2005. Fourteen days later, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians filed an answer to the writ in which it asserted the sovereign power of the Tribe as a defense to the garnishment.

*Holding: not yet available

Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma v. Continental Carbon Company
2007 WL 54835
No. CIV-05-445-C
United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma, January 8, 2007

Subjects: Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma; Class actions (Civil procedure) -- Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma; Air pollution -- Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma; Continental Carbon Co. (Tex.); China Synthetic Rubber Corp.; Jurisdiction -- United States.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) CCC argues that the Court lacks authority to interpret or enforce a tribal law or custom and therefore to the extent Plaintiffs assert such claims in the First Amended Complaint, those claims should be dismissed as they fail to state a claim. In response, Plaintiffs argue that CCC reads the Court's earlier comments regarding the tribal resolution too broadly. The Court agrees with Plaintiffs' recognition that the earlier Order addressed the sole question of whether or not a tribal resolution could provide a basis for subject matter jurisdiction.

*Holding: not yet available

Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. United States
75 Fed.Cl. 15
No. 05-1023 L
United States Court of Federal Claims, January 5, 2007

Subjects: Fiduciary accountability -- United States; Breach of trust -- United States; Trusts and trustees -- United States; Leases -- Rosebud Sioux Tribe of the Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota; Limitation of actions.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought suit against the United States alleging that the Secretary of Interior breached fiduciary duties owed to the tribe in the handling of various lawsuits which arose out of government-approved lease of tribal lands for the construction and operation of pork production facilities. Defendant moved for judgment on the pleadings.

*Holding: The Court of Federal Claims, Merow, Senior Judge, held that:
(1) factual issues regarding accrual precluded summary dismissal on statute of limitation grounds;
(2) suit was not an impermissible collateral attack on consent judgment which settled lessee's breach of lease claims; and
(3) tribe stated a viable cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty.
Motion granted in part and denied in part.

United States v. State of Washington
2007 WL 30869
No. CV 9213
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Seattle, January 4, 2007

Subjects: Fishing rights -- Upper Skagit Indian Tribe of Washington; Fisheries -- Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Reservation, Washington -- Defined.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) This subproceeding was initiated as a Request for Determination (“Request”) filed by the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe (“Upper Skagit”), asking the Court to determine that certain areas known as Saratoga Passage and Skagit Bay, on the eastern side of Whidbey Island, are not within the usual and accustomed fishing area (“U & A”) of the Suquamish Indian Tribe (“Suquamish”) as it was defined in U.S. v. Washington, 459 F.Supp. 1020 (1978).

*Holding: not yet available

United States v. Washington
20 F.Supp.3d 828
Case No. 70?9213.
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Seattle, Filed Jan. 3, 2007. Compilation of major post-trial substantive orders (January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2007).

*Synopsis: United States, on its own behalf and as trustee for various Indian tribes, brought action for declaratory and injunctive relief against State of Washington and others concerning off-reservation treaty right fishing. Other tribes intervened.

*Holding: The District Court, Ricardo S. Martinez, J., issuing various orders, held that:
(1) usual and accustomed fishing area of Suquamish Tribe did not include waters of Saratoga Passage and Skagit Bay;
(2) District Court lacked jurisdiction to resolve inter-tribal dispute over allocation of fisheries resources;
(3) District Court would approve consent decree and settlement agreement concerning shellfish; and
(4) right of taking fish secured in the Stevens Treaties imposed duty upon Washington to refrain from building or operating culverts that hindered fish passage.
Ordered accordingly.

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