2014 Federal Courts Cases

December

Oklahoma v. Hobia
775 F.3d 1204
Nos. 12-5134, 12-5136.
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Dec. 22, 2014.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: State brought action alleging that tribal officials, along with federally-chartered corporation related to tribe and related state limited liability company, were attempting to construct and ultimately operate class III gaming facility on non-Indian lands, in violation of Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and state-tribal gaming compact. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma denied defendants' motion to dismiss, 2012 WL 1454885, entered preliminary injunction in state's favor, 2012 WL 2995044, denied defendants' motion for reconsideration, 2012 WL 3096634, and granted in part defendants' motion to modify, 2012 WL 3112306. Defendants filed interlocutory appeal.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Briscoe, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) action was not rendered moot by letter from National Indian Gaming Commission's (NIGC) chairwoman to tribe, and
(2) state's claim did not fall within IGRA's scope.
Reversed and remanded.

Legal Topics: Gaming; Indian Lands

Schaghitoke Tribal Nation v. Kent School Corp. Inc.
595 Fed.Appx. 32
Nos. 12–4544, 12–4587, 13–4756
United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
Dec. 15, 2014.

*Synopsis: Indians groups brought action against United States and other government landholders arguing that they were dispossessed of land in violation of the Indian Nonintercourse Act. The United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, Thompson, J., 896 F.Supp.2d 151, granted summary judgment to the defendants. The Indian groups appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals held that the District Court appropriately deferred to the Department of the Interior's determination that the Indians did not constitute an Indian Tribe under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction.

Shirk v. U.S. ex rel. Dept. of Interior
773 F.3d 999
No. 10-17443.
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted June 12, 2014. Filed Dec. 8, 2014.

*Synopsis: Motorcyclist injured as a driver attempted to flee tribal police brought Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) claims against the United States, claiming the two tribal police officers acted negligently when they encountered the driver off-reservation and that such negligence caused the motorcyclist's injuries. The United States District Court for the District of Arizona, Neil V. Wake, J., 2010 WL 3419757, dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The motorcyclist appealed.

*Holding: As a matter of first impression, the Court of Appeals, O'Scannlain, Circuit Judge, held that in order for an Indian tribe, tribal organization or Indian contractor to be deemed part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), a court must determine whether the allegedly tortious activity is encompassed by the relevant federal contract or agreement with an Indian tribe, and decide whether the allegedly tortious action falls within the scope of the tortfeasor's employment under state law.
Vacated and remanded.

EXC Incorporated v. Jensen
588 Fed.Appx. 720 (Mem)
No. 12–16958
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed Dec. 23, 2014.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

Legal Topics: Jurisdiction, Highways

Smith v. Parker
2014 WL 7236929
No. 14-1642.
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Submitted: Oct. 7, 2014. Filed: Dec. 19, 2014.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Owners of businesses and clubs that sold alcoholic beverages brought action against Omaha Tribal Council members in their official capacities for prospective injunctive and declaratory relief from tribe's attempt to enforce its liquor-license and tax scheme on owners. State of Nebraska and United States intervened. Parties cross-moved for summary judgment. The United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, Richard G. Kopf, J., 996 F.Supp.2d 815, denied plaintiffs' motion and granted defendants' motion. Plaintiffs appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Beam, Circuit Judge, held that Omaha Reservation was not diminished by 1882 Act ratifying agreement for sale of tribal lands to non-Indian settlers.
Affirmed.

In re Vallecito Gas, L.L.C.
771 F.3d 929
No. 13-10926.
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Argued and Submitted April 15, 2013. Filed Dec. 8, 2014.

*Synopsis: Member of Indian tribe filed petition for writ of habeas corpus alleging that his convictions and sentences by tribal court violated Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA). The United States District Court for the District of Arizona David G. Campbell, J., 2012 WL 1038746, denied petition, and petitioner appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, N.R. Smith, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) it would decline to exercise jurisdiction over member's petition, and
(2) it was not precluded from sua sponte declining to exercise jurisdiction.
Affirmed.

Alvarez v. Tracy
2014 WL 6871570
No. 12-15788.
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Argued and Submitted April 15, 2013. Filed Dec. 8, 2014.

*Synopsis: Member of Indian tribe filed petition for writ of habeas corpus alleging that his convictions and sentences by tribal court violated Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA). The United States District Court for the District of Arizona David G. Campbell, J., 2012 WL 1038746, denied petition, and petitioner appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, N.R. Smith, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) it would decline to exercise jurisdiction over member's petition, and
(2) it was not precluded from sua sponte declining to exercise jurisdiction.
Affirmed.

Amador County, California v. U.S. Dep't of Interior
Briefs from Turtle Talk
772 F.3d 901
No. 13-5245.
United States Court of Appeals, Disctrict of Columbia Circuit, Argued Oct. 9, 2014, Decided Dec. 2, 2014

*Synopsis: County brought action challenging Interior Secretary's "no-action" approval of compact between Indian tribe and state allowing gaming on tribal land. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, 592 F.Supp.2d 101, and 723 F.Supp.2d 67, determined that county lacked standing, and dismissed the suit, and county appealed. The Court of Appeals, 640 F.3d 373, reversed and remanded. On remand, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia denied tribe's motion to intervene, and tribe appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Sentelle, Senior Circuit Judge, held that district court did not abuse its discretion in denying tribe's motion.
Affirmed.

Walker River Paiute Tribe v. U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development
2014 WL 7072505
No. 3:08-CV-0627-LRH-VPC.
United States District Court, D. Nevada, Signed Dec. 15, 2014.

*Synopsis: Federally recognized Indian tribe brought action against the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and others, alleging that defendants improperly offset the amount of federal funding the tribe received in one fiscal year in violation of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self�Determination Act (NAHASDA). The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Larry R. Hicks, J., held that:
(1) HUD's promulgation of regulation disqualifying block grant funding for housing units which were no longer owned or operated by a tribal housing authority was not arbitrary and capricious;
(2) HUD's post-audit interpretation of the regulation, which excluded all homes past their initial 25�year lease period from a tribe's Formula Current Assisted Housing Stock (FCAS) calculation, was arbitrary and capricious as applied to tribe; and
(3) HUD had its own authority pursuant to the doctrine of payment by mistake to recoup funds paid to tribe, and so agency did not violate tribe's statutory due process rights by offsetting tribe's Indian Housing Block Grants (IHBG) for the fiscal year in question without complying with NAHASDA's notice and opportunity for hearing requirements.

 

Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon v. Jewell
2014 WL 7012707
Civil Action No. 13-849 (BJR).
United States District Court, District of Columbia, Signed December 12, 2014.

*Synopsis: Operator of a tribal casino, along with county, city, and local businesses, brought consolidated actions against Secretary of the Interior, challenging her decision to take into trust 152 acres of land for Cowlitz Indian Tribe and allow gaming there. Tribe intervened as a defendant, and parties cross-moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Barbara J. Rothstein, J., held that:
(1) Secretary's interpretation of Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) was entitled to deference;
(2) Secretary's determination that Tribe was under federal jurisdiction was neither arbitrary nor capricious;
(3) Secretary's determination that land qualified for gaming under Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) was neither arbitrary nor capricious; and
(4) Secretary satisfied National Environmental Policy Act's (NEPA) reasonable-alternatives requirement.

November

Shirk v. United States ex rel. Department of Interior
2014 WL 6871562
No. 10-17443.
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Nov. 19, 2014.

*Synopsis: Chapter 11 trustee brought adversary proceeding against persons to whom purported assignee of debtor-limited liability company (LLC) transferred overriding royalty interests in mineral lease on Indian land allegedly owned by debtor, seeking, inter alia, declaration that transfer made to one transferee was void or voidable. The Bankruptcy Court, Barbara J. Houser, J., 461 B.R. 358, granted judgment in favor of owners of overriding royalty interests. Trustee appealed. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Sam A. Lindsay, J., 2013 WL 4014452, affirmed. Trustee appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, E. Grady Jolly, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) public records exception and general hearsay exception to hearsay rule did not apply to letter from attorney in Navajo Nation Department of Justice;
(2) only Navajo Nation could invoke Navajo Code provision that required written consent for any transfer of overriding mineral royalty interest;
(3) trustee could not raise Navajo Code provision on illegality defense; and
(4) lis pendens did not prevent recipients of undivided royalty interests in mineral lease from successfully asserting "good faith purchaser" defense.
Affirmed.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Peabody Western Coal Company
773 F.3d 977
Nos. 12-17780.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Nov. 19, 2014

*Synopsis: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought action against company that mined coal on Hopi and Navajo reservations under leases with the tribes, and against tribe, alleging that lease requirements that company give preference in employment to Navajo Indians constituted national origin discrimination in violation of Title VII. Company impleaded the Secretary of the Interior and counterclaimed against the EEOC for declaratory relief. The United States District Court for the District of Arizona, John W. Sedwick, J., denied EEOC's motion to supplement the record and, 2012 WL 5034276, granted summary judgment for the Secretary and tribe on the ground that the tribal hiring preferences in the leases were permissible under Title VII. EEOC appealed.

*Holding: On EEOC's motion to amend prior opinion, the Court of Appeals, W. Fletcher, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) on question of first impression, Title VII's prohibition against national origin discrimination did not prohibit the leases' tribal hiring preferences;
(2) district court did not abuse its discretion by denying as untimely EEOC's request to supplement the record; and
(3) EEOC waived on appeal its claim that company violated Title VII's record-keeping requirements.
Affirmed.

Cloverdale Rancheria v. Jewell
593 Fed.Appx. 606
No. 12-16539.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted Oct. 9, 2014.
Filed Nov. 7, 2014.

*Synopsis:Five members of federally recognized Indian tribe sought to compel the Department of Interior and its officials to recognize them as the tribe's leadership and negotiate self-determination contracts with them. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Jeremy D. Fogel, J., 2012 WL 1669018, dismissed their complaints for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and lack of standing. Plaintiffs appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals Held that:
(1) plaintiffs failed to identify a discrete, non-discretionary duty sufficient to furnish district court with subject matter jurisdiction under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA);
(2) plaintiffs lacked statutory standing to sue; and
(3) plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative appeals as to claim involving return of proposed self-determination contracts, as required by APA.

Oklahoma v. Hobia
Briefs from Turtle Talk
771 F.3d 1247
Nos. 12-5134, 12-5136.
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, Nov. 10, 2014.

*Synopsis: State brought action alleging that?tribal?officials, along with federally-chartered corporation related to?tribe?and related state limited liability company, were attempting to construct and ultimately operate class III gaming facility on non-Indian?lands, in violation of?Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and state-tribal?gaming compact. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma denied defendants' motion to dismiss, 2012 WL 1454885, entered preliminary injunction in state's favor, 2012 WL 2995044, denied defendants' motion for reconsideration, 2012 WL 3096634, and granted in part defendants' motion to modify, 2012 WL 3112306. Defendants filed interlocutory appeal.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Briscoe, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) action was not rendered moot by letter from National Indian Gaming Commission's (NIGC) chairwoman to tribe, and
(2) state's claim did not fall within IGRA's scope.
Reversed and remanded.

Rassi v. Federal Program Integrators, LLC
69 F.Supp.3d 288
Civil No. 1:12–cv–00354
United States District Court, D. Maine
Signed Nov. 25, 2014

*Synopsis: Employee brought action against her employers, a federally-chartered tribal corporation and limited liability company (LLC) it formed under Maine law, alleging that she was subjected to retaliation and harassment in violation of the False Claims Act, and that she was excluded from pay increases and promotions, and was disparaged by co-workers and managers on account of her race, in violation of Title VII. Employers moved to dismiss or, in the alternative, to stay the case pursuant to the tribal exhaustion doctrine.

*Holdings: The District Court, Jon D. Levy, J., held that:
(1) LLC was not separate legal entity from tribe, and, thus, it had tribal sovereign immunity;
(2) LLC waived its tribal sovereign immunity; and
(3) stay of employee's action was warranted under tribal exhaustion doctrine.

Keepseagle v. Vilsack
2014 WL 5796751
Civil Action No. 99-3119 (EGS)
United States District Court, District of Columbia, Signed November 7, 2014.

Synopsis written by the library: After years of litigation, the parties reached a settlement, which created a Compensation Fund. Once all of the distrubtions were made for attorney fees and individual awards, there was still money left in the Fund. On September 24, 2014, the Class Counsel filed a motion to modify the Settlement Agreement so that the remaining money could be distributed to non-profit organizations "proposed by Class Counsel and approved by the Court" and that met certain criteria. Both the Great Plains Claimants and the Choctaw Movants filed motions to intervene in the matter.

Holding written by the library: All motions to intervene were denied but the request of the Great Plains Claimaints to participate in the settlement modification proceedings as amici curiae was granted.

United States v. Kasper
60 F.Supp.3d 1177
No. 12–CR-413
United States District Court, District of New Mexico
Signed November 5, 2014.

*Synopsis: Federally-recognized tribal government moved for recognition as a crime victim under the Crime Victims' Rights Act (CVRA) in order to exercise the participatory rights conferred by the statute, in prosecution of employees of construction company for which the tribal government was the sole shareholder.

*Holdings: The District Court, Martha Vazquez, J., held that tribal government was not a crime victim under the CVRA.
Motion denied.

Maniilaq Association v. Burwell
2014 WL 5558336
Civ. Action No. 13-cv-380 (TFH).
United States District Court, District of Columbia, Signed November 3, 2014.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe administering healthcare systems through a self-determination compact and annual funding agreements under the Indian Self�Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) filed suit against Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) responsible for providing federal health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives, seeking a declaration that a lease for one of the clinics the tribe operated under its compact was incorporated into its funding agreement as a matter of law. Both sides moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Thomas F. Hogan, Senior District Judge, held that:
(1)letter sent to IHS by Indian tribe constituted "final offer" for purposes of triggering 45-day time period for agency to respond under ISDEAA;
(2) clinic lease was properly included in funding agreement pursuant to ISDEAA; and
(3) final offer concerning lease was deemed accepted when IHS failed to respond to proposal within 45 days.

October

Thorpe v. Borough of Thorpe
Briefs from Turtle Talk
2014 WL 5369390
Nos. 13-2446, 13-2451.
United States Court of Appeals,Third Circuit, Argued Feb. 14, 2014, Filed Oct. 23, 2014.

*Synopsis: Native American brought action under ? 1983 and Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) to require borough to return his father's remains to tribe. The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, A. Richard Caputo, J., dismissed plaintiff's ? 1983 claim, 2011 WL 5878377, and entered summary judgment in plaintiff's favor on NAGPRA claim, 2013 WL 1703572. Borough appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, McKee, Chief Judge, held that borough was not "museum" under NAGPRA.
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Becker v. Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation
Briefs from Turtle Talk
2014 WL 5334690
No. 13?4172.
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, Oct. 21, 2014.

*Synopsis: In action alleging breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and accounting claims against Indian tribe, tribe moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The United States District Court for the District of Utah, Dee Benson, J., 2013 WL 5954391, granted motion. Plaintiff appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Briscoe, Chief Judge, held that federal courts lacked federal question jurisdiction over state claims.
Affirmed.

Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin v. Wisconsin
Briefs from Turtle Talk
2014 WL 5032493
No. 14-1051..
United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, Oct. 9, 2014.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action alleging that state statute prohibiting members of tribes from hunting deer at night on ceded territory outside tribes' reservations violated its treaty rights. After entry of judgment in state's favor, 775 F.Supp. 321, the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, Barbara B. Crabb, J., denied tribe's motion for relief from judgment, and tribe appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Posner, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) tribe's delay in filing motion was not reason to deny relief, and
(2) reconsideration of tribe's motion was warranted.
Reversed and remanded.

Related News Articles: Tribes in Wisconsin win big decision in treaty hunting dispute (Indianz) 10/10/14; Wisconsin Law Firm Wins Key Ruling on Tribal Jurisdiction (Democratic Underground) 12/3/15

Sturgeon v. Masica
768 F.3d 1066
Nos. 13–36165, 13–36166
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed Oct. 6, 2014.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Hunter brought action challenging National Park Service's (NPS) enforcement of regulation banning operation of hovercrafts on river, part of which fell within national preserve. State intervened to challenge NPS's authority to require its researchers to obtain permit before engaging in studies of chum and sockeye salmon on river, part of which fell within boundaries of national park and preserve. The United States District Court for the District of Alaska, H. Russel Holland, Senior Judge, 2013 WL 5888230, entered summary judgment in NPS's favor, and hunter and state appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Nguyen, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) hunter had standing to bring action;
(2) state lacked standing to challenge NPS's authority;
(3) NPS's ban on hovercraft use could be enforced on river; and
(4) Interior Secretary did not exceed her statutory authority in promulgating ban.

Inetianbor v. Cashcall, Inc.
Briefs from Turtle Talk
2014 WL 4922225
No. 13-13822.
United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, Oct. 2, 2014.

*Synopsis: Borrower brought action against loan servicer, alleging defamation, usury, and violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, No. 0:13?CV?60066?JIC, James I. Cohn, J., 962 F.Supp.2d 1303denied servicer's motion to compel arbitration. Servicer appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Martin, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) forum selection clause was central and integral part of arbitration agreement;
(2) arbitration by Native American tribe was required by the agreement; and
(3) tribal forum was unavailable, precluding arbitration.
Affirmed.

Related News Story: Second federal circuit court refuses to enforce arbitration by South Dakota tribe (Arbitration Nation) 10/15/14

California v. Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California
2014 WL 5485940
No. 114-CV-01593-LJO-SAB.
United States District Court, E.D. California, Signed October 29, 2014.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe submitted a contract proposal to the Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Act for funding to operate an emergency medical services (“EMS”) program that the Indian Health Service (“IHS”), a component of Health and Human Services, had been funding directly since 1993. After receiving the Tribe's proposal, the Secretary discontinued the EMS program, which IHS viewed as financially untenable, and denied the Tribe's request on the ground that the agency would not have funded the program going forward. The Tribe brought suit and has moved for summary judgment, arguing that the Secretary lacked authority to deny the proposal."

* Holding: The Court granted summary judgment in favor of the Tribe because the Secretary did not rest her decision on any of the enumerated declination critera available under the The Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act."

In re McDonald
Briefs from Turtle Talk
519 B.R. 324
Case Nos. 14-40520 and 14-40543.
United States Backruptcy Court, District of Kansas, Signed October 27, 2014.

*Synopsis: Chapter 13 trustee objected to exemption claimed by debtors in per capita payments from Indian tribe, and also asserted that such payments had to be considered in applying "best interests of creditors" test for confirmation of plan.

* Holding: The Bankruptcy Court, Janice Miller Karlin, J., held that:
1) per capita payments to which Chapter 13 debtor was automatically entitled, regardless of need, as her share of gaming revenues earned by Indian tribe of which she was member were not excluded from property of estate as beneficial interest in trust;
2) contingent interest that debtor had in receiving these tribal payments was included in property of the estate, and had to be considered in assessing whether proposed Chapter 13 plan satisfied "best interests of creditors" test;
3) even assuming that Tribal Code qualified as "local law," it was not "local law that [wa]s applicable on the [petition date] to the place in which the debtor's domicile [was] located"; and
4) per capita payments made to debtor, without regard to need, as her share of gaming revenues earned by Indian tribe, were not an exempt "local public assistance benefit."

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe v. Burwell
Briefs from Turtle Talk
70 F.Supp.3d 534
Case No. 1:13-cv-01771 (CRC)
United States District Court, District of Columbia, Signed October 7, 2014.

*Synopsis: Native-American tribe brought action against, inter alia, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), challenging Secretary's decision to deny tribe's request, under Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA), seeking funding to operate emergency medical services (EMS) program that Indian Health Service (IHS), as HHS component, had funded directly, on ground that IHS would not have continued to fund such program going forward. Defendants moved to dismiss, or, in alternative, for summary judgment, and tribe moved for summary judgment.

* Holding: The District Court, Christopher R. Cooper, J., held that:
1) other tribes in region were not interested parties, and, even if they were, they were not indispensable parties;
2) court would review de novo Secretary's decision to decline tribe's proposal;
3) Secretary failed to provide reasonable basis for declining tribe's proposal; and
4) compelling Secretary to negotiate with tribe was appropriate remedy for ISDEAA violations with respect to declining tribe's proposal.

Tribe's motion granted.

Anderson v. Duran
70 F.Supp.3d 1143
Case No. 13–cv–04825–RS
United States District Court, N.D. California
Signed October 02, 2014.

*Synopsis: County sheriff brought action against Native-American tribe, affiliated tribal entities, individual members of group purporting to comprise legitimate tribal council, and judge and clerk of purported tribal court, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent enforcement of temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by tribal court to direct sheriff, who was not tribal member, to take certain steps in executing his duties, and to stay further proceedings against him in tribal court. Sheriff moved for summary judgment, and tribal entities and individual defendants moved for judgment on pleadings or summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Richard Seeborg, J., held that:
(1) neither tribe nor its affiliated entity consented to suit, as required to waive sovereign immunity;
(2) insofar as sheriff sought prospective, nonmonetary relief, sovereign immunity did not bar court's jurisdiction over individual defendants;
(3) complaint was not rendered moot by voluntary cessation of underlying tribal suit; and
(4) tribal court lacked jurisdiction over county sheriff.

San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority v. Jewell
2014 WL 4960786
No. 1:13-CV-01232-LJO-GSA.
E.D. California, Signed Oct. 1, 2014.

*Synopsis: Water authority and water district brought action alleging that Bureau of Reclamation's decision to make flow augmentation releases (FAR) of water from dam without first preparing environmental impact statement or engaging in consultation violated Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA), Reclamation Act, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and Endangered Species Act (ESA). Indian tribes intervened. Parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Lawrence J. O'Neill, J., held that:
(1) plaintiffs sufficiently alleged injury-in-fact to establish Article III standing;
(2) plaintiffs satisfied causation requirement for Article III standing;
(3) plaintiffs had associational standing to bring action;
(4) plaintiffs lacked standing to bring ESA claim;
(5) claim that Reclamation's decision violated CVPIA and Reclamation Act was not moot;
(6) plaintiffs' NEPA claim was moot;
(7) Reclamation's decision to make FARs did not violate CVPIA;
(8) Trinity River Division Central Valley Project Act did not provide Bureau of Reclamation with authority to make FARs;
(9) Reclamation's decision to make FARs did not violate Reclamation Act; and
(10) Reclamation's decision to make FARs did not violate CVPIA.

September

United States v. Bryant
2014 WL 4815099
No. 12?30177.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Argued and Submitted July 10, 2014, Filed Sept. 30, 2014.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: In prosecution for domestic assault within Indian country by habitual offender, the United States District Court for the District of Montana, Jack D. Shanstrom, Senior Judge, denied defendant's motion to dismiss indictment, and he appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Paez, Circuit Judge, held that defendant's prior uncounselled tribal court domestic abuse convictions could not be used as predicate offenses.
Reversed.

Related News Stories: 9th Circuit: Not all tribal court convictions can be used as a basis for federal prosecution (Star Tribune) 10/1/14

EEOC v. Peabody Western Coal Company
Oral Arguments and Briefs from Turtle Talk
2014 WL 4783087
No. 12-17780.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Argued and Submitted May 12, 2014, Filed Sept. 26, 2014.

*Synopsis: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought action against company that mined coal on Hopi and Navajo reservations under leases with the tribes, and against tribe, alleging lease requirements that company give preference in employment to Navajo Indians was national origin discrimination in violation of Title VII. Company impleaded the Secretary of the Interior and counterclaimed against the EEOC for declaratory relief. The United States District Court for the District of Arizona, John W. Sedwick, J., denied EEOC's motion to supplement the record and, 2012 WL 5034276, granted summary judgment for the Secretary and?tribe?on the ground that the?tribal?hiring preferences in the leases were permissible under Title VII. EEOC appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, W. Fletcher, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) on question of first impression, Title VII's prohibition against national origin discrimination did not prohibit the leases' tribal hiring preferences;
(2) district court did not abuse its discretion by denying as untimely EEOC's request to supplement the record; and
(3) EEOC waived on appeal its claim that company violated Title VII's record-keeping requirements.
Affirmed.

King Mountain Tobacco Company, INC. v. McKenna
2014 WL 4783092
No. 13-35360.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Argued and Submitted Aug. 27, 2014, Filed Sept. 26, 2014.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Tobacco and cigarette manufacturing company owned by Yakama tribal member, and Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation brought action against Washington's Attorney General, for declaratory and injunctive relief from Washington's escrow statute. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, Lonny R. Suko, J., 2013 WL 1403342, granted summary judgment in favor of state. Plaintiffs appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Christen, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) escrow statute was a nondiscriminatory law;
(2) district court properly determined whether manufacturer's products were principally generated from reservation land; and
(3) Yakama Treaty was not an express federal law that exempted manufacturer from Washington's escrow statute.
Affirmed.

Chemehuevi Indian Tribe v. Jewell
Briefs from Turtle Talk
2014 WL 4627994
No. 12-56836.
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Argued and Submitted April 7, 2014. Filed Sept. 17, 2014.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe and its members brought action alleging that Interior Secretary, acting through Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), violated Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by determining that Interior was not authorized to approve tribe's assignments of land to certain of its members. The United States District Court for the Central District of California, Stephen V. Wilson, J., entered summary judgment in Secretary's favor, and plaintiffs appealed..

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Thomas, Circuit Judge, held that: (1) tribe was prohibited by Indian Nonintercourse Act from approving land assignment deeds to tribal members in manner similar to fee simple ownership, and
(2) Interior Secretary was not authorized to approve conveyances.
Affirmed.

Lewis v. White Mountain Apache Tribe
584 Fed.Appx. 804
No. 13–15467
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Filed Sept. 16, 2014.

Legal Topics: Indian Civil Rights Act - Custody

Thlopthlocco Tribal Town v. Stidham
2014 WL 4345420?
No. 13-5006.
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, Sept. 3, 2014.

*Synopsis: Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, a federally recognized Indian tribe, brought action against tribal judicial officers of the Muscogee Nation, another federally recognized Indian tribe, seeking to enjoin the Muscogee Nation tribal court's exercise of jurisdiction over an election dispute, after the Thlopthlocco Tribal Town withdrew its consent to the tribal court's jurisdiction. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, James H. Payne, J., 2013 WL 65234, dismissed. The Thlopthlocco?Tribal?Town appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Tymkovich, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) the District Court had subject matter jurisdiction;
(2) the alleged unlawful exercise of tribal court jurisdiction was sufficient for application of Ex parte Young doctrine to tribal sovereign immunity;
(3) the Muscogee Nation was not an indispensable party;
(4) the Thlopthlocco Tribal Town failed to exhaust its claims in tribal court; and
(5) abatement was preferable to dismissal pending exhaustion of tribal court remedies.
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin v. United States
Briefs from Turtle Talk

765 F.3d 1010
No. 12-5217.
United States Court of Appeals, Disctrict of Columbia Circuit, Argued March 13, 2014. Decided Sept. 2, 2014.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe that operated health care system for tribal members pursuant to self-determination contract with Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) brought action against HHS, alleging breach of that contract. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, 539 F.Supp.2d 152,dismissed tribe's claims in part, and, 2008 WL 3919158, denied tribe's motion to reconsider. The Court of Appeals, 614 F.3d 519, reversed and remanded. On remand, the District Court, Rosemary M. Collyer, J., 841 F.Supp.2d 99, granted summary judgment in favor of government. Tribe appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Pillard, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) tribe's miscalculation that it would be eligible to participate in class action was not extraordinary circumstance warranting equitable tolling of applicable limitations period;
(2) alleged certainty of failure tribe faced in bringing its claims was not an extraordinary circumstance that warranted equitable tolling; and
(3) series of events that tribe faced in bringing its claims did not jointly amount to an extraordinary circumstance.
Ordered accordingly.

Yount v. Salazar
2014 WL 4904423
Nos. CV11–8171 PCT–DGC, CV12–8038 PCT DGC, CV12–8042 PCT DGC, CV12–8075 PCT DGC
United States District Court, D. Arizona.
Signed Sept. 30, 2014.

Legal Topics: Tribal Sovereign Immunity - Tribal Officials

Estate of Gonzales v. Brown
2014 WL 4748604
No. 12-CV-495-JED-PJC.
United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma, Signed Sept. 23, 2014.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "As noted above, officers of the City of Pawnee Police Department, Pawnee County Sheriff's Office, and the Pawnee Nation Police Department, were involved in the events leading to the shooting. In addition to suing the involved officers, plaintiff has also sued Herb Adson, the City of Pawnee Police Chief, Mike Waters, the Pawnee County Sheriff, and David Kanuho, the Pawnee Nation Police Chief. Plaintiff alleges that each of these Police Chiefs and Sheriff had a custom and policy of failing to properly train and supervise their underling officers who were involved in the shooting. The alleged failures included a failure to train and supervise the officers as to the legal jurisdiction of tribal law enforcement, the use of excessive force, required pre-shooting duty of care, and how to appropriately respond when dealing with an emotionally upset, inebriated, and fearful young man. ... Dolly Gonzales, who is James Dylan Gonzales's mother and the Personal Representative of his Estate, asserts claims on her own behalf and on behalf of his Estate. Her Second Amended Complaint contains two claims under 42 U.S.C. � 1983: one for alleged violations of the younger Gonzales's rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments; and the second for alleged violations of his rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Southcentral Foundation v. Roubideaux
48 F.Supp.3d 1291
No. 3:13–cv–00164–SLG
United States District Court, D. Alaska
Signed Sept. 23, 2014.

*Synopsis: Tribal organization, which was authorized to participate in self-governance compacting process under Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDA), brought action against Director of United States Indian Health Service (IHS), seeking immediate injunction that would compel IHS to enter into two amendments to their self-governance contract awarding organization program funds under Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative (MSPI) and Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative (DVPI), as well as direct and indirect contract support costs (CSCs) associated with MSPI and DVPI program funds. After organization's motion for preliminary injunction was denied, 2013 WL 5773793, and after parties entered into contract amendments awarding organization its requested MSPI and DVPI program funds, parties cross-moved for summary judgment on remaining claims regarding CSCs.

*Holdings: The District Court, Sharon L. Gleason, J., held that:
(1) IHS failed to meet its burden to provide clear and convincing evidence of validity of grounds for rejecting organization's final offer with respect to indirect CSCs associated with MSPI program funds;
(2) IHS provided clear and convincing evidence for its rejection of organization's request for direct CSCs associated with MSPI program funds; and
(3) IHS provided clear and convincing evidence for its rejection of organization's request for direct and indirect CSCs associated with DVPI program funds.

Bettor Racing, Inc. v. National Indian Gaming Commission
2014 WL 4699651
No. CIV. 13-4051-KES.
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division, Signed Sept. 19, 2014.

*Synopsis:A parimutuel betting business and its president brought action against the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), claiming that the NIGC's imposition of a $5 million fine for violations of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Eighth Amendment and the procedural due process protections. An Indian Tribe intervened. All parties moved for summary judgment.

* Holding: The District Court, Karen E. Schreier, J., held that:
(1) the NIGC did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in finding that the business violated the IGRA by operating without an approved management contract;
(2) the NIGC did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in finding that the business violated the IGRA by operating under two unapproved amendments to a management contract;
(3) the NIGC did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in finding that the business violated the IGRA by having a propriety interest in an Indian casino;
(4) the NIGC did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in imposing a $5 million fine;
(5) the business's procedural due process rights were not violated;
(6) the Court had subject matter jurisdiction to address the Eighth Amendment claim; and
(7) the business failed to make a prima facie showing that the $5 million fine was grossly disproportionate.

Cowart v. Allen
2014 WL 4678306
No. 2:11-CV-382-WKW.
United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division, Signed Sept. 18, 2014.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "This case is before the court on a 42 U.S.C. � 1983 complaint filed by John Douglas Cowart ["Cowart"], an indigent state inmate currently incarcerated at the Easterling Correctional Facility ["Easterling"]. Cowart alleges that he follows the Native American religion, and he makes the following claims:
(1) defendants allow anyone on the "approved list" to be on the Native American sacred grounds, knowing that some White gang members on the list desecrate the sacred grounds, and defendants refuse to take corrective action;
(2) defendants break the ceremonial circle on Native American grounds to accommodate officers moving segregation inmates;
(3) defendants refuse to allow tobacco for ceremonial purposes or transfer Native American inmates to institutions that allow tobacco;
(4) defendants limit access to firewood and limit fires to three days a week while other institutions have fires daily;
(5) defendants refuse to allow Native American inmates to use tobacco in the ceremonial pipe;
(6) defendants prevent Native Americans from using the sweat lodge because it is 100 yards from the ceremonial grounds, the area is too small, tobacco is prohibited, and Cowart is not allowed to transfer to an institution with a functioning sweat lodge and tobacco use; and
(7) defendant Chaplain Askew desecrated Cowart's ceremonial items by touching them and, when questioned, said, "I can do this I'm a holy man," then laughed derisively".

* Holding: (not yet available)

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation v. Corps of Engineers
2014 WL 4678052
No. CIV 11-3026-RAL.
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Central Division, Signed Sept. 18, 2014.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) " Plaintiffs Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation (the Tribe) and Robert Shepherd (Shepherd), the Tribe's chairman, filed a Complaint and Amended Complaint seeking declaratory, injunctive, and other relief. Doc. 1; Doc. 16. Plaintiffs named as Defendants the United States Corps of Engineers (the Corps), Steven E. Naylor (Naylor), in his official capacity as Regulatory Program Manager, and Robert J. Ruch, in his official capacity as District Commander. Plaintiffs' Complaint challenges the Corps' granting of certain � 404 exemptions and Nationwide Permits to Merlyn Drake (Drake) and how it has dealt generally with Drake's requests and conduct on land adjacent to Enemy Swim Lake, which is within the exterior boundaries of the Tribe's reservation. The Defendants filed a Motion for Partial Dismissal of Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint, Doc. 26, which this Court addressed through a prior Opinion and Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Motion for Dismissal. Doc. 32.."

* Holding: (not yet available)

New Mexico v. Department of Interior
2014 WL 10298035
No. 1:14–cv–00695–JAP/SCY
United States District Court, D. New Mexico
Signed Sept. 11, 2014.

*Synopsis: New Mexico brought action under Administrative Procedure Act (APA) seeking declaratory and injunctive relief after Department of Interior determined that Indian tribe could initiate secretarial procedures for obtaining approval to operate Class III gaming pursuant to Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). State filed emergency motion for preliminary injunction barring Department from initiating remedial process.

*Holdings: The District Court, James A. Parker, Senior District Judge, held that:
(1) state had standing to challenge legality of secretarial procedures;
(2) action was ripe for adjudication;
(3) state failed to demonstrate substantial likelihood of success on merits; and
(4) state would not suffer irreparable harm.

Vogel v. CA Inc.
44 F.Supp.3d 207
No. 3:12–CV–00990 (VLB)
United States District Court, D. Connecticut
Signed Sept. 8, 2014.

*Synopsis: White, non-Indian employee brought action against his former employer, alleging race and national origin discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII and Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act. Employer moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Vanessa L. Bryant, J., held that:
(1) alleged statement of employer's vice president constituted stray remark that did not tend to show that employee was terminated under circumstances giving rise to inference of discrimination;
(2) employee's alleged loss of strategic job duties and termination did not occur under circumstances giving rise to inference of discrimination;
(3) alleged reduction in employee's strategic job duties was not materially adverse employment action;
(4) employee's complaint to employer's human resources department was not but-for cause of his change in job duties or his termination; and
(5) employer's proffered reason for terminating employee was not pretextual.

Idaho v. Coeur D'Alene Tribe
2014 WL 4389839
No. 2:14-cv-000170-BLW.
United States District Court, D. Idaho, Signed Sept. 5, 2014.

*Synopsis:State of Idaho filed action against Native American tribe, seeking to enjoin tribe from conducting poker tournaments at casino owned by tribe. The State moved for preliminary injunction, and the tribe moved to dismiss.

* Holding: The District Court, B. Lynn Winmill, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) tribe's sovereign immunity was abrogated by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA);
(2) District Court would not defer, under doctrine of primary jurisdiction, to National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) to decide whether poker was Class III game, under IGRA;
(3) IGRA did not authorize injunctive relief without a showing of irreparable harm; and
(4) State of Idaho was entitled to preliminary injunction.

Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida Dep't of Revenue
Briefs from Turtle Talk
2014 WL 4388143
Civil Action No. 12-62140-Civ.
United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Signed Sept. 5, 2014.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action against executive director of state department of revenue challenging state's imposition of rental tax on rent paid to tribe by non-Indian lessees for use of commercial space at tribe's casinos and of utility tax on electricity delivered to tribe on tribal reservations. Parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

* Holding: The District Court, Robert N. Scola, Jr., J., held that:
(1) Indian Reorganization Act barred state's imposition of rental tax;
(2) federal regulatory scheme regarding leases of restricted Indian land preempted state's imposition of rental tax; and
(3) utility tax was unenforceable.

Flute v. The United States
67 F.Supp.3d 1178
Civil Action No. 13–cv–01836–PAB–CBS
United States District Court, D. Colorado
Signed September 4, 2014.

*Synopsis: Descendents of victims of United States Army's 1864 massacre of certain bands of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indian tribes brought putative class action against federal government, Department of Interior (DOI), and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), alleging breach of trust and seeking accounting of reparation payments promised to their ancestors by treaty and award of funds found still owing. Defendants moved to dismiss.

*Holdings: The District Court, Philip A. Brimmer, J., held that:
(1) descendents failed to establish waiver of sovereign immunity under Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and
(2) descendents failed to establish that 2009 DOI Appropriations Act waived government's sovereign immunity.

Chamblin v. Greene
2014 WL 4352346
No. C14-5491 BHS.
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Tacoma, Signed Sept. 2, 2014.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Plaintiff Dotti Chamblin is a member of the Makah Tribe ("Tribe"), as well as a patient at the Tribe's Health Clinic ("Clinic"). Dkt. 5, Declaration of Rebecca JCH Jackson ("Jackson Dec."), Ex. 4; Dkt. 6 at 1. On January 3, 2014, the Clinic's Health Director, Elizabeth Buckingham ("Buckingham"), filed a petition for an order of protection against Plaintiff. Jackson Dec., Ex. 2. In the petition, Buckingham alleged that Plaintiff made threats against a Clinic staff member. Id. at 18. That same day, the Makah Tribal Court ("Tribal Court") granted a temporary order of protection. Jackson Dec., Ex. 3."

* Holding: (not yet available)

August

White v. University of California
Briefs from Turtle Talk
2014 WL 4211421
No. 12-17489.
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Argued and Submitted Dec. 3, 2013. Filed Aug. 27, 2014
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Scientists brought declaratory judgment action against tribal repatriation committee, university, its regents, and certain of its officials, opposing repatriation of aboriginal human remains that had been possessed by federally funded museums and educational institutions since their discovery on university property during archaeological field excavation project. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Richard Seeborg, J., dismissed the complaint. Scientists appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Thomas, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) scientists had standing to bring action seeking a declaration that the remains were not "Native American" within meaning of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA);
(2) NAGPRA did not abrogate tribes' sovereign immunity from suit;
(3) tribal repatriation committee was entitled to tribal sovereign immunity as an arm of the tribe;
(4) tribal repatriation committee did not waive its sovereign immunity;
(5) tribes and repatriation committee were necessary parties;
(6) tribes and repatriation committee were indispensable parties; and
(7) public rights exception to compulsory joinder rule did not apply.
Affirmed.

Jackson v. Payday Financial, LLC
2014 WL 4116804
No. 12-2617.
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Argued Jan. 22, 2013. Decided Aug. 22, 2014.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Consumers brought putative class action in state court against limited liability company (LLC) and other entities offering payday loans that were owned by, or doing business with, enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, alleging violations of Illinois civil and criminal statutes related to loans that consumers had received. Defendants removed the action. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Charles P. Kocoras, J., granted defendants' motion to dismiss for improper venue. Consumers appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Ripple, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) forum selection clause of payday loan agreements specifying that any disputes arising from the agreements would be resolved in arbitration by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Nation was illusory and, thus, unenforceable;
(2) tribal courts did not have subject matter jurisdiction over consumers' claims; and
(3) defendants failed to establish a colorable claim of tribal jurisdiction, and, therefore, exhaustion in tribal courts was not required.
Reversed and remanded.

McAllen Grace Brethren Church v. Salazar
2014 WL 4099141
No. 13-40326.
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Aug. 20, 2014

*Synopsis: Plaintiffs brought action against the Department of the Interior, seeking declaration that Department's enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act violated the Free Exercise Clause and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) because it prohibited American Indians who were not members of federally-recognized tribes from possessing bald eagle feathers and golden eagle feathers. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas granted summary judgment to Department. Plaintiffs appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Haynes, Circuit Judge, held that Department, as movant for summary judgment, did not make prima facie showing of least restrictive means of furthering asserted governmental interests, as required under RFRA.
Reversed and remanded.

Related News Story: Fifth Circuit grants Native Americans religious freedom to obtain permits for eagle feathers (Southeast Texas Record) 9/9/14. 5th Cir. applies RFRA to Indian religious ceremonies subject to the MBTA and Eagle Protection Act (Lexology) 8/21/14

United States v. Lummi Nation
763 F.3d 1180
No. 12-35936.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Argued and Submitted April 11, 2014, Filed Aug. 19, 2014.

*Synopsis: In proceedings to adjudicate fishing rights reserved by 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott, Lower Elwha Band of S'Klallams, Jamestown Band of S'Klallams, Port Gamble Band of S'Klallams, and Skokomish Indian Tribe sought determination that Lummi Indian Tribe was violating 1974 District Court opinion in United States v. Washington by fishing in areas outside its adjudicated usual and accustomed grounds and stations. Following entry of summary judgment order in 1990 in favor of plaintiff tribes determining that 1974 opinion did not intend to include disputed areas within Lummi tribe's usual and accustomed grounds and stations, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, Barbara Jacobs Rothstein, J., dismissed action. Plaintiff tribes appealed. The Court of Appeals, 235 F.3d 443, affirmed in part and reversed in part. On remand, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, Ricardo S. Martinez, J., 2012 WL 4846239, entered summary judgment on Klallam tribes' request for determination that Lummi tribe's usual and accustomed grounds did not include eastern portion of Strait of Juan de Fuca or waters west of Whidbey Island. Lummi tribe appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Bea, Circuit Judge, held that law of the case doctrine did not control determination of Lummi tribe's usual and accustomed grounds.
Reversed and remanded.

Gatzaros v. Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Briefs from Turtle Talk
2014 WL 3765834
No. 13-2045.
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Aug. 1, 2014.

*Synopsis: Third-party beneficiaries of guaranty agreement sued Indian tribe and casino, as guarantors, seeking to recover $74 million that beneficiaries were owed under redemption agreement after casino failed to fully pay subscription amount owed to redeemer, under subscription agreement in which casino agreed to pay to redeemer subscription amounts that were owed to beneficiaries, under redemption agreement, as those payments came due. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Paul D. Borman, J., 2013 WL 3456976, dismissed suit. Beneficiaries appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Stranch, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) beneficiaries could not unilaterally modify guaranty agreement, and
(2) guarantors did not waive their defenses to beneficiaries' attempted unilateral modification.
Affirmed.

Related News Story: 6th Circuit sides with Sault Tribe in commercial casino dispute (Indianz) 8/4/14

Burley v. Onewest Bank
2014 WL 4244026
CIV. Nos. 2:14-1349 WBS EFB, 2:14-1567 WBS EFB.
United States District Court, E.D. California, Signed Aug. 25, 2014. Filed Aug. 26, 2014.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Silvia Burley is the chairperson of the California Valley Miwok Tribe ("the Tribe"), which is a federally-recognized Indian tribe. In 2002, the Tribe purchased a parcel of land in Stockton, California. Shortly after doing so, the Tribe issued a resolution authorizing Burley to obtain a loan for the property and to take title to the property on behalf of the Tribe. Burley refinanced the property on behalf of the Tribe in 2006 and 2007, and quitclaimed the property to the Tribe in 2008. Burley and the Tribe allege that they are waiting for funds owed to them by the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund and that the California Gambling Control Commission is holding $10 million in escrow on behalf of the Tribe. In the meantime, however, Burley and the Tribe failed to make payments on the property. As a result, OneWest Bank, FSB recorded a Notice of Default on February 19, 2010 and initiated foreclosure proceedings. A Trustee's Deed Upon Sale recorded in San Joaquin County on November 6, 2013 reflects that Deutsche Bank National Trust Company ("Deutsche Bank") purchased the property at a foreclosure sale."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Maniilaq Association v. Burwell
2014 WL 4178267
Civ. No. 13-380(TFH).
United States District Court, District of Columbia. Signed August 22, 2014.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Plaintiff is seeking a declaration that a lease with the Indian Health Service ("IHS" or "defendant") for one of the clinics Maniilaq operates under its self-determination contract is incorporated into Maniilaq's 2013 funding agreement as a matter of law."

* Holding: (not yet available) "

United States v. Nichols
2014 WL 4185360
No. CR 140-30038-MAM.
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Central Division. Signed Aug. 20, 2014.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Steven Nichols, a non-Indian, was excluded from the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation. While his exclusion was in effect, he was seen driving on a public road within the reservation. Tribal officers stopped and detained him until an FBI agent arrived. The agent then arrested him for criminal trespass. Nichols claims that the tribe did not have the authority to ban him from using the road and that his federal trespass charge built upon a tribal writ and order of exclusion should be dismissed."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Cherokee Nation v. Nash
990 F.Supp.2d 1148
Case No. 11-CV-648-TCK-TLW.
United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma, Signed Aug. 19, 2013

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action against descendents of former slaves that had been owned by tribe seeking a declaration that the descendents did not enjoy citizenship rights within the tribe. Descendents moved for transfer to the District Court for the District of Columbia. The District Court, 2013 WL 4537094, Terence C. Kern, J., denied the request for a transfer.

* Holding: On reconsideration, the District Court, Terence Kern, J., held that:
(1) the first-to-file rule applied to subsequently filed action, and
(2) the District Court would refrain from deciding whether special, equitable circumstances existed that would prevent application of the first-to-file rule.
So ordered.

United States v. Janis
40 F.Supp.3d 1133
No. CR. 14-50013-JLV.
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division, Signed Aug. 14, 2014.

*Synopsis: Defendant, who allegedly assaulted tribal officer on Indian reservation, was indicted for assaulting federal officer. Defendant moved to dismiss indictment.

* Holding: The District Court, Jeffrey L. Viken, Chief Judge, held that tribal officer was federal officer at time of alleged assault.
Motion denied.

In re Greektown Holdings, LLC
516 B.R. 462
Bankruptcy No. 08-53104. Adversary No. 10-05712.
United States Bankruptcy Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division-Detroit., Signed August 12, 2014.

*Synopsis Litigation trustee brought strong-arm proceeding to avoid allegedly fraudulent transfers, and an Indian tribe named as defendant moved to dismiss on sovereign immunity grounds.

* Holding: The Bankruptcy Court, Walter Shapero, J., held that Indian tribes are "domestic governments," whose sovereign immunity is abrogated in fraudulent transfer avoidance proceedings by bankruptcy statute expressly abrogating the sovereign immunity of "governmental units," which are defined to include "other foreign or domestic governments." Motion denied.

No Casino in Plymouth v. Jewell
2014 WL 3939585
No. 2:12-cv-01748-TLN-CMK.
United States District Court, E.D. California, Signed Aug. 8, 2014. Filed Aug. 11, 2014.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "This matter arises out of Plaintiffs' allegations that Federal Defendants did not have the authority to take land into trust for the Intervenor Defendant, because the Ione Band of Miwok Indians was not a "recognized tribe now under federal jurisdiction" in 1934 when the Indian Reorganization Act ("IRA") was enacted."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Grand Canyon Trust v. Williams
38 F.Supp.3d 1073
No. CV-13-08045-PCT-DGC.
United States District Court, D. Arizona
August 7, 2014

*Synopsis: Environmental group and Indian tribe brought action against United States Forest Service (USFS) and forest supervisor, alleging that defendants violated environmental and historical preservation laws by allowing mine to resume operations on national forest land. Defendants filed partial motion to dismiss.

*Holdings: The District Court, David G. Campbell, J., held that:
(1) USFS's determination that valid existing mineral rights (VERs) existed at mine was agency action under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA);
(2) the determination was a consummation of USFS's decisionmaking process, rather than a preliminary step;
(3) the determination affected legal rights of mine operator;
(4) plaintiffs stated a claim under the APA to compel agency action unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed;
(5) plaintiffs' claim that defendants violated the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) was not barred by res judicata; and
(6) claim that defendants violated the NHPA accrued when USFS made its VERs determination.
Motion denied.

Caddo Nation of Oklahoma v. Court of Indian Offenses for the Anadarko Agency
2014 WL 3880464
No. CIV-14-281-D.
United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma, Signed Aug. 7, 2014.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "It is well-established that "as a matter of comity, a federal court should not exercise jurisdiction over cases arising under its federal question or diversity jurisdiction, if those cases are also subject to tribal jurisdiction, until the parties have exhausted their tribal remedies." Tillett, 931 F.2d at 640 (citation omitted). Plaintiffs contend the tribal exhaustion requirement should not apply here because the CFR Court is not a tribal court and further, because the CRF Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to consider the dispute."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Jamul Action Committee v. Stevens
2014 WL 3853148
No. 2:13-cv-01920-KJM-KJN.
United States District Court, E.D. California, Signed Aug. 4, 2014. Filed Aug. 5, 2014.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Plaintiffs allege the Indian Lands Determination "is a final agency action of the NIGC" embedded in the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, "to permit the NIGC to approve the Management Contract" for the operation of a casino on a parcel of land that is "not a reservation," and the Jamul Indian Village has not "exercised government control over the Parcel." Id. p 3. Plaintiffs allege the parcel of land "does not qualify as Indian lands eligible for gambling under IGRA, 25 U.S.C. � 2703." Id. Plaintiffs allege "[t]he Defendants lack the authority under ... [IRA] to take the Parcel in trust for the [Jamul Indian Village] or to treat it like a reservation" for the Jamul Indian Village."

* Holding: (not yet available)

July

Cayuga Indian Nation v. Seneca County
Briefs from Turtle Talk
2014 WL 3746795
No. 12-3723.
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Argued: January 7, 2014. Decided: July 31, 2014

*Synopsis: Native-American tribe brought action, seeking permanent declaratory and injunctive relief against county's attempts to collect property taxes on five parcels of land purchased by tribe. The United States District Court for the Western District of New York, Charles J. Siragusa, J., 890 F.Supp.2d 240, granted tribe's motion for preliminary injunction to enjoin county from foreclosing on properties pursuant to New York law. County appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals held that tribal sovereign immunity protected tribe from suit.
Affirmed.

Wildearth Guardians v. EPA
Briefs from Turtle Talk
759 F.3d 1196
No. 13-9524.
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, July 23, 2014.

*Synopsis: Environmental group filed petition pursuant to Clean Air Act (CAA) for review of federal implementation plan (FIP) promulgated by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce regional haze by regulating emissions from coal-fired power plant located on Indian reservation. Utility intervened, and petition was transferred.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Hartz, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) group's claim that EPA was required to require emissions filtering devices on three of plant's units was moot;
(2) Court of Appeals would not consider group's suggestions in post-briefing letters;
(3) group member alleged sufficiently concrete and particularized injury to establish standing; and
(4) EPA had no duty to consult with Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
Petition denied.

United States v. Whiteagle
2014 WL 3562716
No. 12-3554.
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Argued June 6, 2013. Decided July 21, 2014

*Synopsis: Defendant was convicted in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, William M. Conley, Chief Judge, of bribing and conspiring to bribe a tribal legislator, and he appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Rovner, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) evidence was sufficient to sustain conspiracy conviction;
(2) false invoices defendant submitted to vendors were admissible; and
(3) bribery guideline applied in sentencing defendant.
Affirmed.

Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas v. United States
2014 WL 3360472
Nos. 13-40644.
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, July 9, 2014

*Synopsis: Tribe brought suit against the United States and various federal agencies, alleging that issuance of drilling leases and permits on land violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and federal common law. Government moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Rodney Gilstrap, J., 2013 WL 1279033, adopted report and recommendation of Roy S. Payne, United States Magistrate Judge, 2013 WL 1279051, and granted motion to dismiss. Tribe appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Carl E. Stewart, Chief Judge, held that federal court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Tribe's claims.
Affirmed.

Massachusetts v. Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head
36 F.Supp.3d 229
Civil No. 13-13286-FDS.
United States District Court, D. Massachusetts, July 1, 2014

*Synopsis:Commonwealth of Massachusetts brought action in a Commonwealth court against federally recognized Indian tribe, alleging that tribe's efforts to commence commercial gaming operations on tribal land violated previous settlement agreement. Tribe removed action, and Commonwealth moved to remand.

* Holding: The District Court, Saylor, J., held that resolution of Commonwealth's lawsuit presented substantial question of federal law.
Motion denied.

June

Stockbridge Munsee Community v. New York
756 F.3d 163
Petition for Rehearing En Banc
Nos. 13-3069.
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Argued: June 18, 2014. Decided: June 20, 2014.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action against State of New York and certain state officials and agencies, counties, towns, and villages, asserting various claims alleging tribe, and not the State, had title to 36 square mile tract of land in upstate New York. The United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, Kahn, J., 2013 WL 3822093, granted defendants' motions to dismiss, and tribe appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals held that equitable principles of laches, acquiescence, and impossibility barred tribe's claims.
Affirmed.

United States v. Goldtooth
754 F.3d 763
Nos. 12-10570, 12-10571.
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Argued and submitted March 10, 2014. Filed June 12, 2014

*Synopsis: Following denial of their motion for judgment of acquittal, defendants were convicted after jury trial in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, James A. Teilborg, Senior District Judge, of aiding and abetting robbery on an Indian reservation, and they appealed their convictions.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Noonan, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) no rational juror could have found that defendants had advance knowledge that package of tobacco would be taken from the victims, nor could a rational juror have inferred foreknowledge or intent from the circumstances, as required to convict defendants of aiding and abetting robbery;
(2) addressing a matter of apparent first impression for the court, attempted robbery, under statute proscribing robbery in special maritime or territorial jurisdictions, including Indian reservations, requires proof of specific intent; and
(3) the government failed to prove that defendants intended to take victim's money or wallet, as required to establish the underlying crime of attempted robbery, and as required to prove that either defendant aided and abetted any such attempt.
Reversed.

Akiachak Native Community v. Jewell
995 F. Supp 2d. 7
No. 06-0969 (RC).
United States District Court, D. Columbia, June 26, 2014

*Synopsis: Alaska Native tribes brought action to challenge regulation promulgated by the Secretary of the Interior that deleted Alaska exception to regulations governing procedures for government to take land into trust for individual Indians and tribes. State of Alaska intervened as defendant. After the District Court, Rudolph Contreras, J., 935 F.Supp.2d 195, granted tribes' motion for summary judgment, but ordered supplemental briefing regarding Alaska exception, Alaska appealed, and further moved for stay and injunction pending that appeal.

* Holding: The District Court, Contreras, J., held that:
(1) Alaska's low likelihood of success on merits of appeal was not fatal to its motion;
(2) Alaska did not sleep on its rights by waiting eight months to move for stay or injunction pending appeal;
(3) Secretary's proposed rule and its rulemaking process did not cause Alaska irreparable harm;
(4) process by which Secretary accepted and reviewed applications to take land into trust did not cause Alaska irreparable harm; but
(5) once Secretary took land into trust, harm to Alaska became irreparable;
(6) potential harm suffered by other parties weighed heavily in favor of granting Alaska's motion; and
(7) public interest favored granting Alaska's motion.
Motion granted in part and denied in part.

Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians v. Coachella Valley Water District
2014 WL 11396255
Case No. EDCV 13-00883 JGB (SPx)
United States District Court, C.D. California.
Filed June 19, 2014.

Legal Topics: Intervenor United States' Motion to Intervene - Granted

Wisconsin v. Ho-Chunk Nation
2014 WL 2615422
No. 13-cv-334-bbc.
United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin, June 12, 2014

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) The state of Wisconsin has brought this case to enjoin defendant Ho-Chunk Nation from offering electronic poker at Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison (formerly DeJope), the Ho-Chunk Nation's gaming facility in Madison, Wisconsin. The question raised in the parties' cross motions for summary judgment is whether Ho-Chunk Nation's poker game violates a compact with the state. The answer to that question turns on whether electronic poker qualifies as a "class II" or "class III" game under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Class III games are prohibited by the compact except under certain conditions not present in this case, but class II games are permitted. Because I conclude that Ho-Chunk Nation's electronic poker game is a class III game, I am granting the state's motion for summary judgment and denying Ho-Chunk Nation's motion.

*Holding: (not yet available)

Wav, inc. d/b/a Apriz v. Walpole Island First Nation
47 F.Supp.3d 720
No. 13 C 09133
United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
Signed June 6, 2014.

*Synopsis: Illinois corporation brought action against native Canadian tribe that allegedly failed to pay corporation under contract for wireless internet services and equipment maintenance. Tribe moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.

*Holdings: The District Court, John J. Tharp, Jr., J., held that:
(1) tribe purposefully availed itself of privilege of conducting business in Illinois, as required for exercise of specific personal jurisdiction under Illinois long-arm statute consistent with due process;
(2) corporation's claim against tribe arose out of tribe's contacts with Illinois; and
(3) exercising personal jurisdiction over tribe comported with notions of fair play and substantial justice.

May

Haight v. Thompson
763 F.3d 554
No. 13-6005.
United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, Argued: May 9, 2014, Decided and Filed: Aug. 15, 2014.

*Synopsis: Death-row inmates brought action against prison officials alleging violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, Thomas B. Russell, J., 2013 WL 1092969, granted summary judgment to the officials, and prisoner appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Sutton, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) inmates exhausted their administrative remedies, as required by Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA);
(2) issues of fact precluded summary judgment on inmates' claim that denial of access to sweat lodge for Native American religious ceremonies violated RLUIPA;
(3) officials' decision to deny certain Native American foods for powwow imposed substantial burden on their religious practices;
(4) issues of fact precluded summary judgment on inmates' RLUIPA claim arising from denial of these foods; and
(5) RLUIPA did not permit inmates to collect money damages from prison officials sued in their individual capacities.
Affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded.

Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida Department of Revenue
Cert. Petition from Turtle Talk
750 F.3d 1238
Nos. 13-10566.
United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, May 5, 2014
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action seeking declaratory judgment that tribe was exempt from paying state tax on fuel and injunction requiring refund of taxes paid. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, James I. Cohn, J., 917 F.Supp.2d 1255, dismissed complaint, and tribe appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Pryor, held that:
(1) state's sovereign immunity barred action, and
(2) action did not fall within scope of Ex parte Young exception to state's Eleventh Amendment immunity.
Affirmed.

United States v. Kirkaldie
21 F.Supp.3d 1100
No. CR 14-12-GF-BMM.
United States District Court, D. Montana, Signed May 22, 2014.

*Synopsis: Defendant who was indicted for domestic abuse by a habitual offender moved to dismiss the indictment.

*Holding: The District Court, Brian M. Morris, J., held that defendant's uncounseled convictions in tribal court for domestic violence could not be admitted to establish element of offense under habitual offender statute.
Motion granted.

Bodi v. Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians
19 F.Supp.3d 978
No. S-13-1044 LKK/CKD.
United States District Court, E.D. California, May 14, 2014

*Synopsis: Tribe member brought California state court action against tribe and tribal health program and board, alleging, inter alia, that tribe member was wrongfully terminated due to her illness in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Following removal, tribe moved to dismiss.

*Holding: The District Court, Lawrence K. Karlton, Senior District Judge, held that tribe waived sovereign immunity by removing action to federal court.
Motion granted in part and denied in part.

Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service
19 F.Supp.3d 1114
No. 1:14-CV-3052-TOR.
United States District Court, E.D. Washington, Signed May 5, 2014.

*Synopsis: In Tribes' action seeking judicial review of decision of the United States Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) that guided wildflower tours of site would have no adverse effect on site designated as Traditional Cultural Property (TCP) under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Tribes moved for temporary restraining order (TRO) prohibiting two remaining scheduled bus tours for the year.

* Holding: The District Court, Thomas O. Rice, J., held that:
(1) Tribes failed to establish likelihood of success on merits of claim that USFWS did not engage in required consultation;
(2) Tribes failed to establish a basis for finding that irreparable harm would likely occur absent TRO; and
(3) balance of the equities did not tip strongly in favor of issuance of TRO. Motion denied.

April

Native American Council of Tribes v. Weber
Briefs from Turtle Talk
750 F.3d 742
Nos. 13-1401.
United States Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit, April 25, 2014

*Synopsis: Native American organization and inmates brought action against prison officials, claiming that the prison's policy of prohibiting tobacco use by Native American inmates during religious activities substantially burdened the exercise of their religious beliefs in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, Karen E. Schreier, Chief Judge, 897 F.Supp.2d 828, found the restrictions violated RLUIPA and ordered parties to confer. After the parties failed to agree on a new tobacco policy, the District Court, 2013 WL 310633, entered a remedial order granting injunctive relief. The prison officials appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Bright, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) the inmates' use of tobacco during Native American ceremonies was a religious exercise;
(2) the prison's complete ban on tobacco use substantially burdened the exercise of the inmates' religious beliefs;
(3) a complete ban was not the least restrictive means of furthering the prison's interest in order and security; and
(4) the District Court's remedial order was narrowly tailored to remedy the violation of inmates' rights.
Affirmed.

Alabama v. PCI Gaming Authority
15 F.Supp.3d 1161
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
Case No. 2:13–CV–178–WKW
United States District Court, M.D. Alabama
Signed April 10, 2014.

*Synopsis: State of Alabama brought state court equity action, under state nuisance law and Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), against gaming authority, a commercial entity through which Native American tribe operated three casinos, and members of authority and tribal council in their official capacities, to prevent allegedly unlawful gaming at casinos. Action was removed. Defendants moved to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.

*Holdings: The District Court, W. Keith Watkins, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) Alabama's state-law nuisance claim was completely preempted by IGRA;
(2) gaming authority was entitled to tribal sovereign immunity from state's claims;
(3) Ex parte Young exception to Eleventh Amendment immunity provided basis for jurisdiction for claims against officials;
(4) Alabama failed to state state-law nuisance claims; and
(5) in matter of first impression, IGRA's penal provision did not provide federal right of action.

Colombe v. Rosebud Sioux Tribe
747 F.3d 1020
Nos. 13-1382, 13-1512.
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, April 4, 2014

*Synopsis: Casino management company's principal brought action to vacate tribal court decision regarding casino management contract dispute and to enjoin tribe from continuing tribal court action to pierce corporate veil. The United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, dismissed complaint in part, 835 F.Supp.2d 736, and entered summary judgment in tribe's favor on remaining claims. Principal appealed, and tribe cross-appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Shepherd, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) company failed to adequately exhaust its tribal court remedies, and
(2) insolvency of company and its principal did not excuse principal from exhaustion requirement.
Affirmed in part and reversed in part.

El Paso Natural Gas Co. v. United States
Briefs from Turtle Talk
750 F.3d 863
Nos. 12-5156, 12-5157.
United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, April 4, 2014

*Synopsis: Natural gas company brought action against United States and other federal entities, alleging failure to fulfill obligations under Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act (UMTRCA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in connection with certain properties alleged to be contaminated with residual radioactive waste. Indian tribe intervened, asserting claims under UMTRCA and federal and tribal law. Defendants moved to dismiss. The District Court, Richard J. Leon, J., 774 F.Supp.2d 40 and 847 F.Supp.2d 111, granted motions. Defendants appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Edwards, Senior Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) Comprehensive Environmental Resources, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) barred court's jurisdiction over RCRA claims related to landfill site;
(2) dismissal of RCRA claims under CERCLA should have been without prejudice;
(3) tribe's RCRA claims in relation to other site were not moot;
(4) as matter of first impression, governmental agencies are persons entitled to bring citizen suits under RCRA;
(5) UMTRCA did not preclude judicial review of tribe's APA claims;
(6) tribe failed to state "failure to act" claims under APA; and
(7) tribe did not have cause of action against United States for breach of trust duties.
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation v. United States
39 F.Supp.3d 66
Civil Action No.: 13-639 (RC)
United States District Court, District of Columbia
April 25, 2014

*Synopsis: Tribal health care providers brought action under Contract Disputes Act (CDA), alleging underpayments relating to contracts with Indian Health Service (IHS) for provision of health care services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. Government filed motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction

*Holding: The District Court, Rudolph Contreras, J., held that providers' certified claims were constructively denied by contracting officer when deadlines passed, thereby providing district court with subject matter jurisdiction.
Motion denied.

McVay v. Allied World Assurance Company, Inc.
16 F.Supp.3d 1202
No. 3:13-cv-00359-HDM-WGC.
United States District Court, D. Nevada, April 18, 2014

*Synopsis: Pedestrian who allegedly slipped and fell in a gas station convenience store owned by tribal development corporation, which was an entity of Indian tribe, brought action against, inter alia, insurer for the Indian tribe and insurer's administrator, seeking to recover damages for injuries she sustained as a result of the slip-and-fall. Defendants filed motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim.

*Holding: The District Court, Howard D. McKibben, J., held that:
(1) pedestrian lacked standing to enforce the Indian tribe's contract with insurer under Nevada law, and
(2) pedestrian lacked standing to assert claim against insurer for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing under Nevada law.
Motions granted.

Chickasaw Nation v. Department of the Interior
120 F.Supp.3d 1190
No. CIV–05–1524–W
United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma, April 16, 2014

*Synopsis: The Chickasaw Nation and the Choctaw Nation brought action against the Department of Interior (DOI), asserting claims arising from federal government's management of Nations' assets and funds, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, including order compelling DOI to provide accounting of all funds and assets placed in trust for the Nations' benefit. DOI moved for dismissal, or, in the alternative, for summary judgment on Nations' trust accounting and trust management claims that pre-dated 1946.

*Holding: The District Court, Lee R. West, J., held that:
(1) Nations adequately alleged that their claims had not accrued for purposes of 1924 Act and statute establishing Indian Claims Commission (ICC);
(2) Nations adequately alleged that claim related to legality of government's sale of timber land prior to 1946 had not accrued for purposes of six-year statute of limitations on actions against United States;
(3) Nations adequately alleged that claim that United States never accounted to Nations for its management or disposal of trust assets had not accrued for purposes of six-year statute of limitations on actions against United States;
(4) Nations adequately alleged that pre-1946 mismanagement of trust asset claims relating to coal and asphalt lands were not precluded by agreement between United States and Nations; and
(5) fact issue precluded summary judgment on issue of whether Nations' claims were barred under doctrine of res judicata.
Motion denied.

Alabama v. PCI Gaming Authority
2014 WL 1400232
No. 2:13-CV-178-WKW.
United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division, April 10, 2014

*Synopsis: State of Alabama brought state court equity action, under state nuisance law and Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), against gaming authority, a commercial entity through which Native American tribe operated three casinos, and members of authority and tribal council in their official capacities, to prevent allegedly unlawful gaming at casinos. Action was removed. Defendants moved to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.

* Holding: The District Court, W. Keith Watkins, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) Alabama's state-law nuisance claim was completely preempted by IGRA;
(2) gaming authority was entitled to tribal sovereign immunity from state's claims;
(3) Ex parte Young exception to Eleventh Amendment immunity provided basis for jurisdiction for claims against officials;
(4) Alabama failed to state state-law nuisance claims; and
(5) in matter of first impression, IGRA's penal provision did not provide federal right of action.
Motion granted.

Wyandot Nation of Kansas v. United States
115 Fed.Cl. 595
No. 06-919L
United States Court of Federal Claims, April 8, 2014

*Synopsis: Native-American tribe brought action against federal government, seeking money damages to compensate it for various breaches of fiduciary duty that it claimed government committed as trustee of trust holding assets for its benefit. Government moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

*Holding: The Court of Federal Claims, Wolski, J., held that tribe's claims were barred under statute precluding court's jurisdiction if plaintiff had suit in respect to same claim pending in another court.
Motion granted.

March

Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada v. U.S. Dep't of Interior
2014 WL 1244275
No. 12-15412.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, March 27, 2014

*Synopsis: Indian tribes brought action challenging Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) approval of mining project on federal land, alleging violations of Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Project owner intervened. The United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Larry R. Hicks, J., 2012 WL 13780, granted summary judgment in favor of BLM and project owner. Tribes appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals held that:
(1) BLM did not act arbitrarily or capriciously when it determined further accommodation of Indian tribes' religious use of pediment area of pi?on-juniper groves at base of mountain in project area was not practicable, and
(2) BLM did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in analyzing project's impacts on water resources.
Affirmed.

Dolgencorp, Inc. v. the Mississippi Band of Chocktaw Indians
746 F.3d 167
No. 12-60668.
United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, March 14, 2014

*Synopsis: Corporation, which operated store on Indian reservation, brought an action seeking to enjoin member of the Indian tribe, and other tribal defendants from adjudicating tort claims against it in tribal court. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, 846 F.Supp.2d 646, denied corporation's motion for summary judgment and granted summary judgment in favor of the tribal defendants, and corporation appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, James E. Graves, Jr., Circuit Judge, held that tribal jurisdiction would exist over tort claims brought against nonmember, which operated store on reservation, arising from alleged sexual molestation of Indian participant in job training program by store manager while participant was working at the store.
Affirmed.

United States v. Wanna
744 F.3d 584
No. 13-1898.
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, March 7, 2014

*Synopsis: Defendant was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, Charles B. Kornmann, J., of misapplication of funds from an Indian tribal organization and aiding and abetting, and was sentenced to 33 months' imprisonment, and she appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Riley, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) evidence was sufficient to support defendant's conviction, and
(2) defendant failed to rebut the presumption of reasonableness that applied to her guidelines sentence.
Affirmed.

Heldt v. Payday Financial, LLC
12 F.Supp.3d 1170
No. 13-3023-RAL.
United States District Court, District of South Dakota, Signed March 31, 2014

*Synopsis: Borrowers brought putative class action against Indian tribe member, member's South Dakota limited liability company (LLC) lending companies, loan processor, and provider of loan support services, asserting claims for civil conspiracy and usury in violation of state laws. Defendants moved to stay proceedings and compel arbitration, borrowers moved to stay defendants' motion to compel arbitration and to take discovery on arbitration issues, and defendants moved to dismiss the complaint.

*Holding: The District Court, Roberto A. Lange, J., held that:
(1) dismissal was not warranted on basis of improper venue;
(2) stay was warranted for tribal court exhaustion of issue whether tribal court jurisdiction existed over non-Indian borrowers; and
(3) stay was warranted for tribal court exhaustion of issue regarding enforceability of arbitration provisions in borrowers' loan agreements.
Ordered accordingly.

Kelsey v. Pope
2014 WL 1338170
No. 1:09-CV-1015.
United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division, March 31, 2014

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "The issue in this case is whether a tribal court has jurisdiction over a misdemeanor crime between an accused Indian perpetrator, the Petitioner Norbert J. Kelsey, that allegedly occurred during a tribal meeting in a building owned by the tribe but located off the tribe's reservation and wherein the alleged victim was also a tribal member. The Magistrate Judge opined in a Report and Recommendation (R & R) that tribal courts do not have jurisdiction to prosecute crimes outside of Indian country, and also found that Kelsey's due process rights were violated when the tribal court expanded its jurisdiction in the criminal ordinance."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Great Elk Dancer for his Elk Nation v. Miller
Material from Turtle Talk
Case No. 2:13-cv-565
United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division, March 28, 2014

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, brings this civil rights action under 43 U.S.C. � 1983. In a nutshell, Plaintiff asserts Defendants arbitrarily and capriciously interfered with his business operations and targeted him for harassment because he is a Native American, thereby violating his federal constitutional rights. On August 19, 2013, the Magistrate Judge issued a Second Initial Screening Report and Recommendation ("R & R") in which he recommended that the Court allow this lawsuit to proceed against Defendants Mayor J. Martin Irvine, Fire Chief Brian Robertson, Officer Josh Mowery, and City Services Director Steve Shaw (collectively, "City Defendants"). R & R 11, ECF No. 17. He also recommended that the Court dismiss the remaining Defendants. Id. In addition, the Magistrate Judge recommended that the Court deny Defendants' motions to strike Plaintiffs first amended complaint. Id. at 11 (denying ECF Nos. 9 & 13). The City Defendants filed timely objections to the R & R. ECF No. 19. The Court now considers those objections."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Ramos v. Bureau of Indian Affairs
2014 WL 1334172
Civil Action No. 13-10065-DJC.
United States District Court, D. Massachusetts, March 28, 2014

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "The Plaintiffs, enrolled members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe ("Tribe"), have sued the Defendants, the Bureau of Indian Affairs ("BIA"); Michael Black, Director of the BIA; Mike Smith, Deputy Director; Franklin Keel, Regional Director; and Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary (collectively, the "Defendants") seeking an injunction requiring the Defendants to conduct an investigation into the Tribe's 2009 election and to take action to ensure that the Tribe's elections are properly conducted."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Las Vegas Tribe of Paiute Indians v. Phebus
2014 WL 1199593
No. 2:13-CV-02000-RCJ-CWH.
United States District Court, D. Nevada, March 24, 2014

*Synopsis: After Tribal Court of Appeals ruled that Indian Tribe lacked criminal jurisdiction over defendant, who had been a member of the Tribe before being disenrolled, Tribe brought action seeking declaratory judgment that it could assert criminal jurisdiction over any person satisfying the definition of "Indian" under the Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA), including defendant. Defendant failed to appear, and Tribe moved for summary judgment.

* Holding: The District Court, Robert C. Jones, J., held that:
(1) Indian Tribe had authority to assert criminal jurisdiction over any person qualifying as an Indian under the Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA), so long as it proved the defendant's Indian status beyond a reasonable doubt, but
(2) Tribal Court erred in declaring defendant to be an Indian for purposes of tribal criminal jurisdiction without submitting the question to a jury for a finding beyond a reasonable doubt.
Motion granted in part and denied in part.

Stymiest v. Rosebud Sioux Tribe
2014 WL 1165925
No. CIV. 14-3001.
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Central Division, March 21, 2014

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Stymiest has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 25 U.S.C. � 1303, the enforcement provision of the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 ("ICRA"), Pub.L. 90-284, 25 U.S.C. �� 1301 et seq. He challenges the three tribal court convictions on the basis that the Rosebud Sioux Tribe did not have jurisdiction to prosecute him because he was not an Indian. He also seeks a ruling that the Rosebud Sioux Tribe does not have jurisdiction to prosecute him in the future for the conduct comprising his federal assault conviction even though his federal crime took place on the Rosebud Indian Reservation."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Tavares v. Whitehouse
2014 WL 1155798
No. 2:13-cv-02101-TLN-CKD.
United States District Court, E.D. California, March 21, 2014

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "This matter is before the Court on Respondents' Motion to Dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. (ECF No. 12.) Petitioners are members of the Auburn Indian Community. Through this action, Petitioners challenge their punishment imposed by the Tribal Council of the United Auburn Indian Community. Respondents, members of the Tribal Council, seek dismissal, arguing essentially this case concerns internal tribal matters, and therefore this Court lacks jurisdiction. Petitioners oppose dismissal arguing their petition is within the Court's jurisdiction under the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 ("ICRA"), 25 U.S.C. � 1303, because their exclusion from tribal lands and suspension of per capita gaming benefits-although temporary-constitute "detention" within the meaning of the statute."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Cobell v. Jewell
29 F.Supp.3d 18
Civil Action No. 96-01285 (TFH)
United States District Court, District of Columbia. Signed March 20, 2014

*Synopsis: Class representatives petitioned for incentive award and recovery of expenses, following congressionally-approved $3.4 billion settlement in class suit asserted by beneficiaries of individual Indian money (IIM) trust accounts against Secretary of the Interior and other trustees, alleging breach of trust and interference with duties of Special Trustee under Indian Trust Fund Management Reform Act. Court granted that petition, and class moved for reconsideration.

* Holding: The District Court, Thomas F. Hogan, Senior District Judge, held that:
(1) class raised argument regarding representatives' personal liability for expenses for first time on motion, precluding reconsideration, and
(2) argument that settlement agreement provided for payment of costs and expenses independent of class counsel's expenses was not proper subject of motion.
Motion denied.

Eaglesun Systems Products, Inc. v. Association of Village Council Presidents
2014 WL 1119726
No. 13-CV-0438-CVE-PJC.
United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma, March 20, 2014

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Defendant Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP) argues that it has sovereign immunity from suit because all of its members are federally-recognized Indian tribes and AVCP was created to provide governmental services for its members. Plaintiff Eaglesun Systems Products, Inc. responds that AVCP is a non-profit corporation organized under state law, and it is not entitled to sovereign immunity as an Indian tribe or as a tribal organization."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Skokomish Indian Tribe v. United States
115 Fed.Cl. 116
No. 11-658L.
United States Court of Federal Claims, March 11, 2014

*Synopsis: Native-American tribe and its individual members brought putative class action against federal government, alleging that government failed to protect their interests with respect to licensing and operation of hydroelectric project upstream from tribe's reservation, as well as taking under Fifth Amendment. Government moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.

* Holding: The Court of Federal Claims, Allegra, J., held that:
(1) plaintiffs' claims decided in district court and those transferred here were, as matter of law, pending with respect to each other;
(2) claims in district court and those before court here were largely same;
(3) hypothetical adverse merits decision on claims in district court would have res judicata on claims here;
(4) there was no temporal or categorical distinction between claims in district court and those before court here; and
(5) there were various nexuses between claims in district court and those before court here.
Motion granted.

Jones v. Norton
3 F.Supp.3d 1170
No. 2:09-CV-730-TC..
D. Utah, Signed March 7, 2014.

*Synopsis: After member of Indian tribe allegedly shot himself while fleeing from law enforcement officers, his parents and estate brought action against county, city, and individual officers under �� 1983 and 1985, alleging, inter alia, illegal seizure, excessive force, and failure to intervene, as well as claims under Utah law for assault/battery and wrongful death. Defendants moved for summary judgment and plaintiffs cross-moved for partial summary judgment.

* Holding: The District Court, Tena Campbell, J., held that:
(1) state trooper's command to tribe member to stop did not constitute an illegal seizure;
(2) detective's acts did not constitute an illegal seizure;
(3) deputy sheriff's act of handcuffing tribe member on reservation constituted an illegal seizure; but
(4) deputy was entitled to qualified immunity;
(5) deputy sheriff's act of handcuffing tribe member did not constitute a use of excessive force;
(6) officers did not violate tribe member's substantive due process rights;
(7) summary judgment evidence was insufficient to raise material issue of fact as to whether officers had racial animus toward Native Americans; and
(8) evidence was insufficient to demonstrate that county failed to train and supervise deputy sheriff.
Defendants' motion granted and plaintiffs' motion denied.

February

In re Grand Jury Proceedings
744 F.3d 211
No. 13-2498.
United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit, Feb. 20, 2014

*Synopsis: Government moved to compel compliance by Indian tribe's historic preservation office with subpoena duces tecum that was issued by since-defunct grand jury, representing that investigation had been transferred to newly-empanelled grand jury. Preservation office objected and moved to quash subpoena on grounds of tribal sovereign immunity and unreasonableness. After granting motion to compel and issuing show cause order due to preservation office's noncompliance, the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island, John J. McConnell, Jr., J., held preservation office in civil contempt. Preservation office appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Howard, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) subpoena could not be enforced by civil contempt sanctions after expiration of issuing grand jury;
(2) exception to mootness doctrine applied to warrant review of preservation office's additional challenges to subpoena;
(3) tribal sovereign immunity provides no refuge from subpoena power of federal grand jury; and
(4) denial of motion to quash subpoena as unreasonable was not abuse of discretion.
Vacated.

United States v. Nowlin
555 Fed.Appx. 821
No. 13-8028.
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Feb. 19, 2014

*Synopsis: Defendant was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming, pursuant to the Major Crimes Act, of one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury in Indian Country and four counts of assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm in Indian Country. Defendant appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Robert E. Bacharach, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) evidence of tribal or federal recognition of defendant's status as Indian was sufficient to support application of Major Crimes Act;
(2) trial court did not abuse its discretion in taking judicial notice of defendant's prior admission under oath of Indian status;
(3) any prejudice resulting from arresting officer's testimony portraying defendant as drunken and belligerent at time of his arrest was not unfair; and
(4) defendant's statements to arresting officer reflected defendant's involvement in charged assaults rather than uncharged misconduct.

Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes v. First Bank & Trust Company
560 Fed.Appx. 699
No. 13-6117.
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Feb. 11, 2014

*Synopsis: Native American tribes brought action against bank and Oklahoma state court judge, alleging that bank and judge violated tribes' sovereign immunity by transferring tribes' funds deposited at bank to court-supervised accounts as part of bank's Oklahoma state court declaratory judgment action, which sought to determine bank's obligations with regard to tribes' account in light of unsettled question of tribal governance. The United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma granted bank's and judge's motions to dismiss. Tribes appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Carlos F. Lucero, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) tribes had standing to bring action;
(2) tribes could not maintain s 1983 action under doctrine of parens patriae;
(3) statute that allowed for tribes to seek injunctive relief that the United States could have sought did not constitute an express Congressional exception to Anti-Injunction Act's (AIA) general prohibition on grants of injunctions by federal courts to stay state court proceedings;
(4) AIA's general prohibition on grants of injunctions by federal courts to stay state court proceedings extended to declaratory judgment sought by tribes against judge;
(5) bank did not act under color of state law in imposing administrative freeze on tribes' funds, and thus tribes could not maintain s 1983 action against bank; and
(6) district court did not abuse its discretion in not providing tribes with leave to amend their complaint rather than dismissing their claims with prejudice.
Affirmed.

Davis v. Pierce
2014 WL 798033
Civil Action No. 2:12-CV-166.
S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division, Feb. 27, 2014

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) " In this prisoner civil rights action, Plaintiffs Teddy Norris Davis and Robbie Dow Goodman allege that Defendants have violated, and continue to violate, their right to practice their Native American religion, in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUPIA), 42 U.S.C. � 2000cc, and the First Amendment. Plaintiffs seek injunctive and declaratory relief from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Criminal Institutions Division (TDCJ CID), by and through the TDCJ CID Director William Stephens, sued in his official capacity only, to: (1) allow Plaintiffs to smoke a communal pipe and/or a personal pipe during Native American ceremonies; (2) provide a minimum of two pipe ceremonies per month and/or otherwise increase the number of Native American services at the McConnell Unit; (3) allow Plaintiffs to grow their hair and/or grow a kouplock; and (4) allow Plaintiffs to wear their medicine bags at all times. (D.E.1, 16, 88). Plaintiffs have also sued Clint Morris, the TDCJ Program Analyst for Designated Units, claiming that he personally violated their First Amendment free exercise rights because he failed to advocate for the rights of Native American prisoners, including Plaintiffs, and as such, is liable in his individual capacity for monetary damages. (See Case No. 2:12-cv-166, Minutes Entry for 02/22/13, and D.E. 143 at pp. 1-2, Plaintiffs' SJM response)."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Picayune Rancharia of the Chukchansi Indians v. Tan
2014 WL 763170
No. 1:14-cv-0220-AWI-SAB.
United States District Court, E.D. California, Feb. 24, 2014

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Plaintiffs purport to be acting on behalf of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, a federally recognized tribe, and the Chukchansi Economic Development Authority (“CEDA”), an entity owned by the Tribe. CEDA is owner of the Chukchansi Casino (“Casino”). Plaintiffs seek to enjoin the Managerial Staff of the Casino from making any disbursements of Casino revenue to any person or entity other than the Tribal Council recognized by the February 11, 2014, Decision by the Regional Director of the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Smith v. Parker
Material from Turtle Talk
2014 WL 558965
No. 4:07CV3101.
United States District Court, D. Nebraska, Feb. 13, 2014
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Owners of businesses and clubs that sold alcoholic beverages brought action against Omaha Tribal Council members in their official capacities for prospective injunctive and declaratory relief from tribe's attempt to enforce its liquor-license and tax scheme on owners. State of Nebraska and United States intervened. Parties cross-moved for summary judgment.

* Holding: The District Court, Richard G. Kopf, Senior District Judge, held that Omaha Reservation was not diminished by 1882 Act ratifying agreement for sale of tribal lands to non-Indian settlers.
Plaintiffs' motion denied; defendants' motion granted.

January

Friends of Amador County v. Salazar
Briefs from Turtle Talk
554 Fed.Appx. 562
No. 11-17996.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Jan. 29, 2014
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: An advocacy organization and its members brought action against the State of California and its Governor, the Department of the Interior (DOI) and its Secretary, and the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) and its Acting Chairman, challenging the state's gaming compact with an Indian Tribe, and the federal recognition of the Tribe. The Indian Tribe intervened. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, William B. Shubb, Senior District Judge, 2011 WL 4709883, granted the Tribe's motion to dismiss, and denied a motion to vacate the dismissal, 2011 WL 6141291. The advocacy organization and its members appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals held that:
(1) the District Court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the Indian Tribe was a required party;
(2) the District Court did not abuse its discretion in determining that it would not be feasible to join the Indian Tribe;
(3) the District Court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the Indian Tribe was an indispensable party; and
(4) the public rights exception to joinder did not apply.
Affirmed.

Bonnet v. Harvest (US) Holdings, Inc.
Briefs from Turtle Talk
741 F.3d 1155

No. 12-4068.
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, Jan. 28, 2014

*Synopsis: Petroleum landman, and his sole proprietorship, brought action against various companies and individuals arising from Tribe's termination of his contract to provide independent consultant services. Plaintiff served Tribe with non-party subpoena duces tecum requesting documents. The United States District Court for the District of Utah, Clark Waddoups, J., 2012 WL 994403, denied the Tribe's motion to quash based on tribal immunity. Tribe appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Baldock, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) denial of motion to quash based on tribal immunity was immediately appealable collateral order, and
(2) as matter of first impression in Circuit, subpoena itself was "suit" against Tribe triggering tribal sovereign immunity.
Reversed.

Yellowbear v. Lampert
741 F.3d 48
No. 12-8048.
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, Jan. 23, 2014

*Synopsis: State prisoner commenced action against individual prison officials, seeking prospective injunctive relief against them for violations of Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The United States District Court for the District of Wyoming granted summary judgment for prison personnel. Prisoner appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Gorsuch, Circuit Judge, held that factual issue existed as to whether preventing state prisoner from exercising his sincerely held religious belief that using sweat lodge cleansed and purified his mind, spirit, and body served compelling governmental interest and that it was least restrictive means of furthering that interest.
Vacated and remanded.

Hester v. Jewell
553 Fed.Appx. 783
No. 13-4142.
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Janurary 21, 2014

*Synopsis: Job applicant brought pro se Title VII action against Secretary of the Department of Interior (DOI) and Department officials. The United States District Court for the District of Utah, Dale A. Kimball, J., 2013 WL 5322625, dismissed sua sponte, and applicant appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit Carlos F. Lucero, Circuit Judge, held that application of Indian Preference to job postings within DOI was not racial discrimination under Title VII.
Affirmed.

Big Lagoon Rancheria v. California
Briefs from Turtle Talk
741 F.3d 1032
Nos. 10-17803, 10-17878.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Jan. 21, 2014

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action alleging that State violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) by failing to negotiate in good faith for a casino on a particular 11-acre parcel of land. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Claudia Wilken, P.J., granted summary judgment for the tribe, 759 F.Supp.2d 1149, but, subsequently, granted State's motion for a stay pending appeal, 2012 WL 298464. Both parties appealed.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Block, District Judge, sitting by designation, held that:
(1) tribe's right to request negotiations under the IGRA depends on it having jurisdiction over Indian lands on which it proposed to conduct gaming;
(2) the State could waive the IGRA's "Indian lands" requirement;
(3) State's challenge to entrustment of 11-acre parcel of land to tribe was timely; and
(4) 11-acre parcel of land did not constitute "Indian lands" over which tribe could demand negotiations.
Reversed and remanded.

Oklahoma Dep't of Environmental Quality v. EPA
Briefs from Turtle Talk
740 F.3d 185
No. 11-1307.
United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, Jan. 17, 2014

*Synopsis: Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality petitioned for review of final rule promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act (CAA), which established a federal implementation plan for the attainment of national air quality standards in Indian country.

* Holding: The Court of Appeals, Ginsburg, Senior Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) Oklahoma had standing to bring petition;
(2) Oklahoma's petition was not time-barred;
(3) Oklahoma did not forfeit its claim that state implementation plan presumptively applied in non-reservation Indian country; and
(4) EPA had no authority under the CAA to issue the rule.
Petition granted.

Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Van Hunnik
Order Granting Class Certification, 2014 WL 317693
Orders and Briefs from Turtle Talk
993 F.Supp.2d 1017
Civ. 13-5020-JLV.
United States District Court, District of South Dakota, Western Division, Jan. 28, 2014

*Synopsis: Native American tribes and several tribe members brought � 1983 action against state officials, alleging policies, practices, and procedures relating to the removal of Native American children from their homes during 48-hour hearings violated the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Defendants moved to dismiss.

* Holding: The District Court, Jeffrey L. Viken, Chief Judge, held that:
(1)Younger abstention did not apply;
(2)Rooker-Feldman abstention doctrine did not deprive district court of subject matter jurisdiction;
(3) tribes had parens patriae standing;
(4) allegations were sufficient to plead judge and officials were policymakers;
(5) ICWA provision provided substantive rights;
(6) allegations were sufficient to state a claim for ICWA violations; and
(7) allegations were sufficient to plead denial of their Fourteenth Amendment due process rights.
Motions denied.

Related News Stories: "Indian Country Braces for Battle With Adoption Industry Over ICWA Guidelines" (Indian Country Today Media Network Online) 3/30/15

Wilson v. Bull
2014 WL 183777
No. CIV. 12-5078-JLV.
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division, Jan. 16, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Plaintiff Diane M. Wilson, appearing pro se, filed an amended complaint alleging she was wrongfully terminated from her employment as a Teacher Assistant for the Wanblee Head Start program operated by the Oglala Lakota College ("OLC"). (Docket 6). Defendants Thomas Shortbull and Michelle Yankton filed a motion to dismiss the action for lack of jurisdiction. (Docket 12). The court referred defendants' motion to United States Magistrate Veronica L. Duffy for a report and recommendation. (Docket 17)."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Skokomish Indian Tribe v. Goldmark
2014 WL 119022
No. C13-5071JLR.
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Seattle, Jan. 13, 2013

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action against government officials, seeking to protect the privilege of hunting and gathering roots and berries on open and unclaimed lands, guaranteed by Treaty. Defendants moved to dismiss.

* Holding: Holdings: The District Court, James L. Robart, J., held that:
(1) Indian tribe established a cognizable injury for purposes of Article III standing;
(2) Eleventh Amendment did not bar Indian tribe's claims against county prosecutors;
(3) Eleventh Amendment did not bar Indian tribe's claims against Director of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Chief of WDFW Enforcement;
(4) Eleventh Amendment did not bar Indian tribe's claims against Washington State Attorney General;
(5) Eleventh Amendment barred Indian tribe's claims against the Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands and Administrator for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Supervisor for DNR;
(6) other signatory Indian tribes to Treaty were necessary parties; and
(7) prejudice to other signatory Indian tribes to Treaty, who were necessary parties and who could not be joined due to their sovereign immunity, warranted dismissal.
Motion granted.

KG Urban Enterprises, LLC v. Patrick
2014 WL 108307
Civil Action No. 11-12070-NMG.
United States District Court, D. Massachusetts, Jan. 9, 2014

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "In November, 2011, casino developer KG Urban Enterprises, LLC ("KG Urban") brought suit against Governor Deval Patrick ("Governor Patrick") and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission ("the Commission"), challenging the Act Establishing Expanded Gaming in the Commonwealth ("the Gaming Act") as unconstitutional. After this Court denied plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction and dismissed the case, the First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, directing this Court to provide defendants with a "limited grace period" for a federally recognized Indian tribe to meet the requirements of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act ("IGRA"). . . . With ancillary matters resolved and the case substantially narrowed to its core equal protection issue, now pending before the Court are cross-motions for summary judgment from both parties."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Related News Stories: New Bedford casino contender KG Urban looses lawsuit (Cape Cod Online) 1/10/14

 

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