2015 Federal Courts Cases

December

Jones v. Norton
809 F.3d 564
No. 14–4040
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.
Dec. 29, 2015
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Parents, on behalf of themselves and estate of deceased son, a tribal member, brought state court action against law enforcement officers, their government employers and private mortuary for claims arising from son's death. Action was removed. The United States District Court for the District of Utah, 3 F.Supp.3d 1170, entered summary judgment for defendants. Parents appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Briscoe, Circuit Judge, held that:
1) suspect was not seized due to officers' actions during encounter;
2) police officers did not use excessive force that shocked conscience, precluding excessive force claim;
3) treaties did not give parents private right of action enforceable through section 1983;
4) officers did not conspire to obstruct justice or violate son's civil rights;
5) mortuary apprentice did not intentionally inflict emotional distress (IIED) upon parents by making incision to draw blood from son's body; and
6) District Court did not abuse its discretion by denying request for sanction for alleged spoliation of numerous forms of evidence.

So ordered.

Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida v. Cypress
2015 WL 9310571
No. 14–12115
United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
Dec. 23, 2015.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action alleging that former tribal chairman, director of finance, chief financial officer, tribe's former attorneys, and investment firm violated Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and state law by embezzling tribal funds for their personal use, charging excessive fees, and managing tribe's funds in manner allowing suspicious financial transactions to occur. Investment firm moved to compel arbitration. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, 2013 WL 2158422, granted motion. The remaining defendants moved to dismiss. The District Court, 975 F.Supp.2d 1298, granted motion. Tribe appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Melloy, Circuit Judge, held that:
1) alleged fraud upon authority of former chairman of tribe was issue to be raised in arbitration;
2) intra-tribal dispute doctrine was not triggered, and federal question jurisdiction existed; and
3) tribe failed to state RICO or RICO conspiracy claim.
Affirmed.

Flute v. U.S.
808 F.3d 1234
No. 14–1405
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
Dec. 23, 2015.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*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. The United States District Court for the District of Colorado, Philip A. Brimmer, J., 67 F.Supp.3d 1178, dismissed the action. Descendents appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, McHugh, Circuit Judge, held that:
1) Department of Interior (DOI) Appropriations Act of 2009 that tolled running of applicable statute of limitations for claims “concerning losses to or mismanagement of trust funds” did not relieve descendents of independent obligation to identify unequivocal waiver of immunity or express consent to be sued;
2) Treaty of Little Arkansas and 1866 Appropriations Act did not create ongoing fiduciary obligations to descendents; and
3) descendents were not entitled to accounting.
Affirmed.

Pauma Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of Pauma & Yuima Reservation v. California
2015 WL 9245245
Nos. 14–56104, 14–56105
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Dec. 18, 2015.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought suit against State of California, asserting claims of mistake and misrepresentation regarding amendment to tribal-state gaming compact entered under Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), and seeking injunctive relief. Indian tribe moved for summary judgment. The District Court for the Southern District of California, Cathy Ann Bencivengo, J., granted motion on misrepresentation claim. Tribe moved to vacate to request further relief, which was denied. State appealed, and tribe cross-appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Tallman, Circuit Judge, held that:
1) State misrepresented to tribe that no further licenses were available;
2) amendment was voidable and appropriate remedy was rescission and restitution;
3) State was not entitled to setoff for profits tribe gained from operating machines it would not have had absent amendment;
4) State's misrepresentation was innocent not fraudulent;
5) State waived sovereign immunity; and
6) language of IGRA precluded bad faith claim against State.
Affirmed.

Hopland Band of Pomo Indians v. Jewell
2015 WL 8610281
No. 14–15112
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Dec. 14, 2015.

Legal Topics: Indian Self–Determination and Education Assistance Act, Public Law 280

Fletcher v. U.S.
2015 WL 9581771
No. 02-CV-427-GKF-PJC
United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
December 30, 2015.

*Synopsis: Tribal members brought class action against federal government, seeking an accounting to determine whether the federal government had fulfilled the fiduciary obligations it chose to assume as trustee to oversee the collection of royalty income from oil and gas reserves and its distribution to tribal members. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, 2012 WL 1109090, dismissed the tribal members' claims, and they appealed. The Court of Appeals, Gorsuch, Circuit Judge, 730 F.3d 1206, reversed and remanded.

*Holdings: On remand, the District Court, Gregory K. Frizzell, Chief Judge, held that:
1) tribal members were entitled to accounting of royalty income from oil and gas reserves held in tribal trust fund, not merely accounting of their individual Indian money (IIM) accounts, and
2) tribe did not waive tribal members' rights to an accounting of tribal trust account.

Ordered accordingly.

Related News Stories: District Judge rules in favor of Osage trust (Bartlesville Radio) 12/31/15

State of California v. Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California
2015 WL 9304835
No. 1:14-CV-01593 LJO SAB
United States District Court, E.D. California
December 22, 2015.

Legal Topics: Tribal-State Gaming Compact, Intra-Tribal Dispute

Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation v. United States
2015 WL 9942044
No. 3:14–cv–01963–PK
United States District Court, D. Oregon
Signed December 18, 2015

Legal Topics: Environmental Law - Response and Cleanup; Liability

Penobscot Nation v. Janet T. Mills
2015 WL 9165881
1:12-cv-254-GZS
United States District Court, D. Maine
December 16, 2015.

*Synopsis: American Indian tribe brought action against state of Maine, the state attorney general, Commissioner of the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and Colonel of the state Warden Service, in response to opinion of state attorney general regarding regulatory jurisdiction of tribe and state related to hunting and finishing on river, seeking declaratory judgment clarifying boundaries of tribe's reservation and tribal fishing rights on river. United States intervened on its own behalf and as a trustee for tribe. State moved for summary judgment or for dismissal for failure to join indispensable parties, United States moved for summary judgment, and tribe moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, George Z. Singal, J., held that:
1) under the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act (MICSA), Penobscot Indian Reservation includes only islands in the main stem of the Penobscot River, which were included in Maine Implementing Act (MIA), but does not include any of the waters of the River, and
2) provision of MICSA regarding sustenance fishing rights of Penobscot Indians permits tribal members to fish in the entirety of the main stem of the Penobscot River, subject only to the limitations of MICSA regarding supervision by the Commissioner of state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Ordered accordingly.

November

Sanders v. Anoatubby
2015 WL 7423038
No. 15–6116
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
Nov. 23, 2015.

*Synopsis: Citizen of Chickasaw Nation, pro se, brought action against Nation's Division of Housing, asserting claims under Title VI and Title VII, based on allegations that she was wrongfully discharged and that she was being retaliated against, in her application for housing assistance, for having filed grievance against her supervisor. The United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, Vicki Miles–LaGrange, Chief Judge, granted Division's motion to dismiss. Citizen appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Terrence L. O'Brien, Circuit Judge, held that
(1) claims were barred under doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity, and
(2) Ex Parte Young doctrine did not apply to action.

Affirmed.

Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians v. Caballero
2015 WL 7293034
No. 13–15411
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed Nov. 19, 2015.

*Synopsis: Tribe brought action against alleged infringer, asserting claims of trademark infringement under the Lanham Act, and violation of the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, John A. Mendez, J., 2013 WL 504808, granted summary judgment in favor of tribe. Alleged infringer appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals held that:
1) tribe failed to provide evidence to maintain infringement claim, and
2) tribe failed to provide evidence to maintain cybersquatting claim.
Reversed and remanded.

Tohono O’odham Nation v. City of Glendale
2015 WL 6774044
Nos. 13–36165, 13–36166
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed Nov. 6, 2015

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action against city and State of Arizona, challenging the constitutionality of a law that allowed a city or town within populous counties to annex certain surrounding, unincorporated lands, as preempted by the Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Act. The United States District Court for the District of Arizona, David G. Campbell, J., 2011 WL 2650205, granted summary judgment to the tribe. City and State appealed and tribe cross-appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, M. Smith, Circuit Judge, held that the Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Act preempted the Arizona annexation law.
Affirmed.

Related News Stories: U.S. appeals court, in latest ruling, upholds tribe's plan to open W.V. casino (YourWestValley) 11/6/15

Everette v. Mitchem
146 F.Supp.3d 720
Civil No. CCB-15-1261
United States District Court, D. Maryland.
Signed November 20, 2015

*Synopsis: Plaintiff brought putative class action on behalf of consumers who received payday loans against tribal lending companies, alleging violations of various Maryland commercial laws and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. Defendants moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, and plaintiff moved for discovery.

*Holdings: The District Court, Catherine C. Blake, J., held that:
1) plaintiff was not entitled to jurisdictional discovery, and
2) tribal lending companies were "arms of the tribe" entitled to tribal immunity.

Plaintiff's motion denied and defendants' motion granted.

State of California v. Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California
2015 WL 7353888
CASE NO. 1:14-CV-01593-LJO-SAB
United States District Court, E.D. California
November 19, 2015.

Legal Topics: Intra-Tribal Leadership Dispute, Casino Management

In re: Intramta Switched Access Charges Litigation this Document Relates to Civil Action No. 3:15-CV-0116-D MCI Communications Services, INC v. Arizona Telephone Company
2015 WL 7258454
Civil Action No. 3:14-MD-2587-D | (MDL No. 2587) | Civil Action No. 3:15-CV-0116-D | (MDL No. 2587)
United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
November 17, 2015.

*Synopsis: Two interexchange carriers (IXC) brought action against local exchange carriers (LEC) that were wholly owned and operated by American Indian tribes, claiming that the LECs have charged and continue to charge IXCs access fees on wireless calls, for which the LECs were liable under federal and state law. LECs moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on tribal immunity.

*Holdings: The District Court, Sidney A. Fitzwater, J., held that:
1) LECs that were wholly owned and operated by American Indian tribes were protected by tribal sovereign immunity;
2) suits for injunctive or declaratory relief may be brought against tribal official without being barred by tribal sovereign immunity, but not against a tribe itself or a tribal agency; and
3) IXCs would be granted leave to file an amended complaint.

Motion granted.

Seneca Nation of Indians v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
144 F.Supp.3d 115
Civil Action No. 14–1493 (JDB)
United States District Court, District of Columbia
Signed November 13, 2015.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe which administered its own healthcare system brought action against the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services seeking declaratory judgment that declinations of annual amendments to annual funding agreements (AFAs) were unlawful, to enjoin the Secretary to reverse those unlawful declinations, to award contract damages, and to declare that the Secretary must continue to provide the contested amount until a reduction is authorized by statute. Secretary moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, and alternatively sought a stay of the action pending appeal by tribe to the Interior Board of Indian Appeals regarding refusal.

*Holdings: United States District Court for the District Of Columbia, John D. Bates, J., held that temporary stay was warranted pending decision by Board.

Motion for stay granted.

Commonwealth v. Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (AQUINNAH)
144 F.Supp.3d 152
Civil Action No. 13-13286-FDS
United States District Court, D. Massachusetts.
Signed November 13, 2015.

*Synopsis: Commonwealth of Massachusetts brought action in a Commonwealth court against federally recognized Indian tribe that did not have a state gaming license, alleging that the tribe's efforts to commence commercial gaming operations on tribal land in town violated the Indian Land Claims Settlement Act of 1987 (Massachusetts Settlement Act), and seeking a declaratory judgment. Tribe removed action to federal court, and the Commonwealth moved to remand, which was denied. Commonwealth, town and community association as intervenors, and tribe all moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Saylor, J., held that:
1) tribe satisfies the "having jurisdiction" prong of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA);
2) tribe failed to show concrete manifestations of its governmental authority over settlement lands; and
3) Massachusetts Settlement Act is a federal law that specifically prohibits gaming on the settlement lands.

Tribe's motion denied and plaintiffs' motion granted.

FMC Corporation v. Shoshone-Bannock Tribes
2015 WL 6958066
Case No. 4:14-CV-489-BLW
United States District Court, D. Idaho
Filed November 9, 2015.

Legal Topics: Hazardous Waste Storage, Tribal Court - Due Process

October

Shinnecock Indian Nation v. New York
628 Fed.Appx. 54
Nos. 14–4445(L), 14–4447(CON).
United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.
Oct. 27, 2015.

Legal Topics: Nonintercourse Act; Waiver of Indian Tribe Sovereign Immunity

Pauma Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Pauma & Yuima Reservation v. California
2015 WL 6445610
Nos. 14–56104, 14–56105
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed Oct. 26, 2015.
Amended Dec. 18, 2015
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought suit against California, asserting claims of mistake and misrepresentation regarding amendment to tribal-state gaming compact entered under Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), and seeking injunctive relief. Indian tribe moved for summary judgment. The District Court for the Southern District of California, Cathy Ann Bencivengo, J., granted motion on misrepresentation claim. Tribe moved to vacate to request further relief, which was denied. California appealed, and tribe cross-appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Tallman, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) California misrepresented to tribe that no further licenses were available;
(2) amendment was voidable and appropriate remedy was rescission and restitution;
(3) California was not entitled to setoff for profits tribe gained from operating machines it would not have had absent amendment;
(4) California's misrepresentation was innocent not fraudulent;
(5) California waived sovereign immunity; and
(6) language of IGRA precluded bad faith claim against California.

Akina v. Hawaii
2015 WL 6560634
CIVIL NO. 15–00322 JMS–BMK
United States District Court, D. Hawai'i
Signed October 29, 2015.

*Synopsis: Native Hawai'ians and Hawai'i residents of non-Hawai'ian ancestry brought action against State of Hawai'i and non-profit corporation that supported efforts to achieve Native Hawai'ian self-determination, alleging under § 1983 that statutory restrictions on registering for "roll" of qualified Native Hawai'ians violated equal protection, due process, and First Amendment, and seeking preliminary injunction to halt election of Native Hawai'ian delegates to proposed convention of Native Hawai'ians to discuss, and perhaps to organize, Native Hawai'ian governing entity.

*Holdings: The District Court, Michael Seabright, J., held that:
1) plaintiffs had Article III standing;
2) election did not implicate Fifteenth Amendment or Voting Rights Act;
3) election was not "public function" that would render corporation state actor subject to liability under § 1983;
4) election was not "joint action" that would render corporation state actor subject to liability under § 1983; 5) statute did not violate Equal Protection Clause; and
6) plaintiffs failed to establish that they would suffer irreparable harm absent injunction.

Motion denied.

Navajo Health Foundation—Sage Memorial Hospital, Inc. v. Burwell
2015 WL 9777785
No. CIV 14–0958 JB/GBW
United States District Court, D. New Mexico
October 26, 2015

Legal Topics: Indian Self–Determination Act Contracts

National Council for Adoption v. Jewell
156 F.Supp.3d 727
Case No. 1:15–cv–00675–GBL
United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
October 15, 2015

*Synopsis: Nonprofit adoption policy organization and nonprofit adoption agency brought action against Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior (DOI) and Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), alleging that issuance of updated guidelines representing Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) interpretation of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), relating to adoption of Indian children, violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Plaintiffs moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Gerald Bruce Lee, J., held that:
1 plaintiffs lacked standing to bring suit;
2 guidelines were not final agency decision subject to judicial review; and
3 guidelines were non-binding interpretive rules not subject to APA notice-and-comment procedures.

Motion denied.

Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians v. Wisconsin
2015 WL 5944238
No. 74–cv–313–bbc
United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
Signed Oct. 13, 2015.

Legal Topics: Night Hunting of Deer, Public Safety- Hunting

Hammond v. Jewell
2015 WL 5915274
CIV. NO. 1:15-00391 WBS SKO
United States District Court, E.D. California
Signed October 7, 2015

*Synopsis: Former member of tribal council brought action against federal officials seeking reinstatement to tribal council. Officials moved to dismiss.

*Holdings: The District Court, William B. Shubb, J., held that:
1) it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over action;
2) Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) failure to reinstate plaintiff was not subject to judicial review pursuant to Administrative Procedure Act (APA);
3) BIA's failure to reinstate plaintiff to tribal council did not violate Due Process Clause; and
4) it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's claim that BIA acted arbitrarily or capriciously when it decided to deal with last uncontested tribal council.

Motion granted.

September

U.S. v. Old Horn
626 Fed.Appx. 695
Nos. 14–30124, 14–30126, 14–30127
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Sept. 23, 2015.

*Synopsis: Defendants were convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Montana, Susan P. Watters, J., of mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, theft from an organization receiving federal funding, theft from an Indian tribal organization, extortion, and income tax fraud. Defendant appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals held that:
[1] evidence was sufficient to support defendants' conviction for mail fraud;
[2] sevidence was sufficient to support defendants' convictions for theft;
[3] evidence was sufficient to support conclusion that defendant intentionally falsified his expenses; and
[4] any error in failing to instruct jury on bona fide wages defense was harmless.

Affirmed.

Cobell v. Jewell
2015 WL 5474186
No. 14–5119
United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
Decided Sept. 18, 2015.

*Synopsis: Class representatives petitioned for an award of class counsel's fees, expenses, and costs, and for an incentive award for class representatives themselves, following congressionally-approved $3.4 billion settlement in class action arising out of the Department of the Interior's misadministration of Native American trust accounts. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted petition in part and denied in part, and, Thomas F. Hogan, Senior District Judge, 29 F.Supp.3d 18, denied reconsideration. Class representatives appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Millett, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) district court order with respect to attorneys' fees and incentive awards did not become final and thus appealable until district court's denial of reconsideration;
(2) appeal was ripe for judicial review;
(3) district court properly compensated class representative for personal costs as part of representative's incentive award; and
(4) class representatives' claim that settlement authorized incentive award to compensate them for third-party costs was not procedurally barred.

Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County v. Chaudhuri
802 F3d. 267
Nos. 11–5171, 11–5466, 13–2339, 13–2777
United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
Decided: Sept. 15, 2015.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Organizations and individuals opposed to operation of Indian casino brought actions challenging National Indian Gaming Commission's (NIGC) approval of ordinance and amendments to ordinance that permitted Seneca Nation to operate casino on land it owned. The United States District Court for the Western District of New York, William M. Skretny, J., vacated ordinance approval and remanded ordinance to NIGC in first action, 471 F.Supp.2d 295, vacated amended ordinance in second action, 2008 WL 2746566, and dismissed case in third action, 945 F.Supp.2d 391. Parties filed cross-appeals.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Droney, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) Seneca Nation had jurisdiction over parcel;
(2) parcel constituted "Indian lands" within meaning of Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA); and
(3) parcel did not fall within scope of IGRA's gaming prohibition.

Cascadia Wildlands v. Bureau of Indian Affairs
2015 WL 5306321
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
No. 14–35553
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed Sept. 11, 2015.

*Synopsis: Environmental organizations brought action against Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) challenging approval of timber sale in national forest under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Coquille Restoration Act (CRA), which indian tribe intervened in as a defendant. The United States District Court for the District of Oregon, Michael J. McShane, J., 2014 WL 2872008, granted summary judgment to BIA and tribe. Environmental organizations appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Raymond C. Fisher, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) it was permissible for BIA to aggregate past and reasonably foreseeable future actions to create baseline from which to consider incremental impact of project, and
(2) objective listed in forest management plan, to protect an endangered species, was not a standard or guideline that BIA was required to comply with pursuant to CRA, and thus BIA did not violate CRA by failing to ensure project was consistent with recovery plan for endangered species.

United States v. Aubrey
2015 WL 5201800
No. 13–10510
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed Sept. 8, 2015

*Synopsis: Defendant, a general contractor on tribal construction project, was convicted of conversion or misapplication of property belonging to Indian tribal organization by the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Kent J. Dawson, Senior District Judge, and he appealed both from his conviction and from sentence imposed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, N.R. Smith, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) as matter of first impression, tribal funds disbursed to general contractor on project to construct housing for members of tribe, even funds that were disbursed for completed construction work, continued to be "property belonging to any Indian tribal organization," as long as tribe maintained title to, possession of, or control over these funds
(2) evidence was sufficient to support defendant's conviction;
(3) forensic auditor who was called as witness to establish foundation for charts detailing the passage of funds through contractor's accounts did not have to be certified as expert;
(4) district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting summary charts; and
(5) defendant occupied "position of trust," as defined by the abuse-of-trust Sentencing Guideline.

Alabama v. PCI Gaming Authority
801 F.3d 1278
No. 14–12004
United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
Sept. 3, 2015.

*Synopsis: State brought action in state court against Indian tribal officials and gaming authority that was wholly owned by Indian tribe to enjoin gaming at casinos on Indian lands within state borders, which state argued were a public nuisance. Gaming authority and tribal officials removed action to federal court. The United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, W. Keith Watkins, Chief Judge, 15 F.Supp.3d 1161, dismissed. State appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Jill Pryor, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) gaming authority shared tribes immunity from suit;
(2) Congress did not intend to displace Ex Parte Young doctrine in Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), and thus tribal officials were not immune from suit;
(3) Indian casino was not located on state land, and thus tribal officials were immune from state's nuisance claim;
(4) amendment of state's complaint to challenge Secretary of Interior's taking of land into trust on behalf of tribe would have been futile; and
(5) as a matter of first impression, Congress did not intend to create an implied right of action that would have given states the right to sue tribal officials to enjoin a certain class of gambling on tribal land under IGRA.

No Casino in Plymouth v. Jewell
136 F.Supp.3d 1166
No. 2:12-cv-01748-TLN-CMK
United States District Court, E.D. California.
Signed 09/30/2015

*Synopsis: Citizens advocate groups filed suit against Secretary of Department of Interior and others, challenging Department's approval of Record of Decision (ROD) by Acting Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs concerning acquisition of 40-acre parcel in trust for Ione Band of Miwok Indians, for purposes of construction of gaming resort. Ione Band intervened. Parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, Troy L. Nunley, J., held that:
1) attorney who represented member of faction band of tribe was not entitled to pro hac vice status on behalf of intervenor tribe;
2) Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs had authority to acquire property in trust for federally recognized tribe;
3) Ione Band of Miwok Indians was recognized tribe under federal jurisdiction when Indian Reorganization Act was enacted;
4) Ione Band was not collaterally estopped from asserting that it was federally recognized tribe;
5) government defendants' and tribe's admissions in prior suit were not binding on defendants and intervenor tribe in instant case, under doctrine of judicial admissions;
6) Secretary of Department of Interior complied with regulatory requirements for approval of ROD;
7) approval of trust acquisition did not create reservation in violation of Congressional Act from 1864;
8) parcel came within "restored lands" exception to statute providing that lands taken in trust acquired after October 17, 1988 were not gaming eligible; and
9) Department adequately considered environmental and economic impact of proposed use.

Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment denied; Government defendants' motion for summary judgment granted; intervenor tribe's motion for summary judgment granted.

Wyoming v. United States Department of the Interior
136 F.Supp.3d 1317
Case No. 2:15–CV–043–SWS (Lead Case), Case No. 2:15–CV–041–SWS
United States District Court, D. Wyoming.
Signed 09/30/2015

*Synopsis: Two states and oil and gas industry organizations petitioned for judicial review of Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) final rule regarding hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands. Two other states and Indian tribes intervened. Petitioners moved for a preliminary injunction enjoining BLM from applying new rule pending resolution of litigation.

*Holdings: The District Court, Scott W. Skavdahl, J., held that:
1) BLM did not have authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal or Indian lands;
2) BLM's regulation of hydraulic fracturing was not supported by substantial evidence and lacked rational justification;
3) BLM's tribal consultation meetings with Indian tribes held after publication of proposed hydraulic fracturing rule were inconsistent with Department of Interior's (DOI) policies and procedures requiring extensive government-to-government consultation;
4) petitioners would have suffered irreparable harm if BLM was permitted to implement new regulations while litigation over regulations was pending; and
5) threatened injuries to petitioners from implementation of BLM's new rule outweighed any potential injury to BLM from delay in implementing rule.

Motion granted.

Alto v. Jewell
2015 WL 5734093
No. 11–cv–2276–BAS (BLM)
United States District Court, S.D. California
Signed Sept. 30, 2015.

Legal Topics: Tribal Enrollment, Ancestral Lineage

County of Amador, California v. The United States Department of the Interior
2015 WL 5813980
Case No. 2:12-cv-01710-TLN-CKD
United States District Court, E.D. California
Filed 09/30/2015.

*Synopsis: County brought action against United States Department of Interior, challenging its determination to take property in trust for Ione Band of Miwok Indians as well as its determinations that Ione Band was recognized Indian tribe under federal jurisdiction and that trust acquisition constituted restoration of lands for Indian tribe that was restored to Federal recognition, such that the property was gaming-eligible. Ione Band intervened as defendant. Parties moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Troy L. Nunley, J., held that:
1) county's complaint timely questioned validity of "grandfathering" regulation on which Department determination relied;
2) Department's two-part analysis to determine whether Indian tribe was one that was "under federal jurisdiction" in June 1934 for which Secretary of Interior could take land to be held in trust was reasonable interpretation of ambiguous term for which judicial deference was warranted;
3) determination that Ione Band was "recognized Indian tribe" in June 1934 for which Department could take gaming-eligible property in trust under Indian Reorganization Act was not arbitrary and capricious;
4) "grandfathering" regulation permitting Department's prior written opinion to meet "restored land" exception to Indian Gaming Regulatory Act's (IGRA) prohibition against gaming on land acquired in trust for Indian tribe was reasonable interpretation of ambiguous statute;
5) Department did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in determining that land acquired in trust for Ione Band met "restored land" exception to IGRA's prohibition against gaming based on "grandfathering" of Department's prior written opinion; and
6) Department did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in determining that Ione Band of Miwok Indians was "restored tribe" and thus was eligible for "restored lands" exception to IGRA's prohibition against gaming.

Defendants' motions granted, plaintiff's denied.

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation v. Jewell
2015 WL 5474487
Civil Action No. 13–00601 (TFH)
United States District Court, District of Columbia
Signed September 17, 2015.

*Synopsis: Ten federally recognized tribes filed suit against Secretary for Department of Interior and Secretary for Department of Treasury, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, arising out of defendants' alleged breaches of fiduciary duties to tribes in management of tribe trust accounts. Defendants filed motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

*Holdings: The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Thomas F. Hogan, Senior Judge, held that:
1) tribes' suit was "civil action arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States" over which district court had subject matter jurisdiction;
2) defendants waived sovereign immunity from suit; and
3) whether suit was barred by six-year limitations period governing suits against United States could not be determined at pleading stage.

Motion denied.

Tohono O'odham Nation v. Ducey
2015 WL 5475290
No. CV-15-01135-PHX-DGC
United States District Court, D. Arizona
09/17/2015.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action against Arizona Governor, Attorney General, and director of Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG), seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to prohibit the State and its officials from refusing to certify vendors and employees to work at tribe's casino, which was in the process of being constructed, and from regulating bingo and card style gaming pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). Defendants moved to dismiss.

*Holdings: The District Court, David G. Campbell, J., held that:
1) letters sent by Governor and Attorney General, advising director to deny gaming certifications requested by tribe, were insufficient to establish connection to enforcement of statute, granting director authority to issue or deny gaming certifications, and thus Ex parte Young exception to sovereign immunity did not apply to allow tribe to pursue action against Governor and Attorney General;
2) IGRA did not provide comprehensive enforcement mechanism for violations of provision regulating casino-style gaming, and thus tribe could pursue action, under Ex parte Young exception to sovereign immunity, against director;
3) tribe's declaratory judgment action, seeking to prevent ADG from regulating bingo and card style gaming, was not ripe for adjudication;
4) IGRA did not reveal intent by Congress to exclude equitable actions, and thus action could proceed in equity;
5) tribe failed to show that it was likely to succeed on its claim, as required for court to issue preliminary injunction; and
6) tribe would not suffer irreparable harm, as required for court to issue preliminary injunction.

Motion granted in part and denied in part.

Century Indem. Co. v. Marine Group, LLC
131 F.Supp.3d 1018
Case No. 3:08–CV–1375–AC
United States District Court, D. Oregon
Signed Sept. 11, 2015.

*Synopsis: Federal Government brought action against insureds, which were current and former owners of property within Portland Harbor Superfund Site, to recover for assessment, removal, and remediation of hazardous materials released at the site under Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Third-party comprehensive general liability, and excess liability, insurers sought declarations that they did not have duty to defend against Government claims resulting from property owners' alleged actions. Insurers moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Acosta, United States Magistrate Judge, held that:
(1) "hazardous substance remedial action" exclusion for claims by governmental authorities applied to claim by council of which Indian Tribe was a member;
(2) indemnification provision did not create duty to defend;
(3) self-insured retention provision did not make insureds a primary insurer;
(4) lack of duty to defend provision did not render insureds uninsured pursuant to Oregon law;
(5) general liability insurer's insolvency did not trigger coverage under excess liability policy; and
(6) indemnification provision in general liability policy for release of hazardous materials from a vessel did not impose duty to defend.

Motion granted in part and denied in part.

Great Elk Dancer for his Elk Nation v. City of Logan
129 F.Supp.3d 546
Case No. 2:13–cv–565
United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division.
September 9, 2015

*Synopsis: Business owner brought § 1983 action against city officials, alleging that interference with his business violated his substantive and procedural due process and equal protection rights. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Abel, United States Magistrate Judge, entered report and recommendations in city officials' favor. Business owner objected. City officials moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Michael H. Watson, United States Magistrate Judge, held that:
(1) district court was not authorized to provide funds to appoint legal counsel;
(2) business owner was not entitled to tribal immunity;
(3) city officials' requirement that business owner obtain license to operate arcade did not violate business owner's right to substantive due process;
(4) city officials did not deprive business owner of property interest in license to operate mechanical amusements;
(5) city officials did not violate business owner's rights to equal protection; (6) stop work order did not violate business owner's due process rights; and
(7) business owner's claim accrued on date that patron leaving his place of business was allegedly harassed.

Motion granted.

United States v. Olney
2015 WL 5226273
No. 13–CR–2094–TOR–19
United States District Court, E.D. Washington
Signed Sept. 8, 2015.

*Synopsis: Defendant, who was an enrolled member of Indian tribe, moved to dismiss, for lack of jurisdiction, indictment charging him with conducting an illegal gambling business, conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act, and unlawful animal fighting venture, or, in the alternative, for the District Court to decline jurisdiction and defer to the tribal court.

*Holdings: The District Court, Thomas O. Rice, J., held that:
(1) statute under which defendant was charged with conspiracy to violate Animal Welfare Act applied to Indians in Indian country;
(2) statute under which defendant was charged with conducting illegal gambling business was nationally applicable federal criminal statute;
(3) statute under which defendant was charged with unlawful animal fighting venture applied to defendant;
(4) Wheeler–Howard Act did not preclude district court's jurisdiction over defendant; and
(5) Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) did not protect defendant from federal prosecution for conducting an illegal gambling business in Indian country.

Agdaagux Tribe of King Cove v. Jewell
128 F.Supp.3d 1176
No. 3:14-cv-0110-HRH
United States District Court, D. Alaska.
Signed Sept. 8, 2015.

*Synopsis: Agdaagux Indian tribe, city, village, borough, and other related American and Alaska Native citizens brought action under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) against the Secretary of the Department of Interior, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish Wildlife and Parks, Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Regional Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife, and the Manager of the National Wildlife Refuge, challenging the decision by the Secretary to adopt a no action plan regarding construction of a road connecting city to another community 18 miles away and home to the only all-weather airport in vicinity. State of Alaska's motion to intervene as plaintiff was granted. Intervenor defendants were Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges, Defenders of Wildlife, Wilderness Watch, Center for Biological Diversity, The Wilderness Society, the National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Refuge Association, and the Sierra Club. Plaintiffs moved for summary judgment, and defendants cross-moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, H. Russel Holland, J., held that:
(1) plaintiffs had standing to challenge Secretary's decision;
(2) introduction of landing craft alternative during NEPA process by Alaskan borough did not require preparation of supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS);
(3) Secretary did not impermissibly predetermine outcome of NEPA proceedings;
(4) record of decision (ROD) published by Secretary stating that offered lands were not likely to be developed was not change in policy;
(5) in final environmental impact statement (FEIS), United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) took required hard look at State and Native lands offered in exchange for construction of road on wildlife refuge land in NEPA proceeding; and
(6) report by Assistant Secretary of Interior for Indian Affairs (AS-IA), which did not make recommendation regarding need for construction of road through Izembek Wildlife Refuge for medical evacuation purposes, did not violate NEPA.

Plaintiff's motion denied, and defendant's motion granted.

Kizer v. PTP, INC.
2015 WL 5165871
No. 3:15–cv–00120–RCJ
United States District Court, D. Nevada
Signed Sept. 3, 2015.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe member brought action against commercial developer, homeowners association for community developed by developer, and individual sub-lessees of developed lots, seeking declaratory judgment that lease, under which member leased allotted Indian-trust land to developer, was void as violating federal law governing trust lands. Defendants moved to dismiss and to join the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) as additional party defendant.

*Holdings: The District Court, Robert C. Jones, J., held that:
(1) tribe member would not be equitably estopped from raising his claim against lease, alleging that the lease term violated federal law;
(2) purchase-option provision in lease was not contrary to federal law;
(3) BIA was a necessary party to action; and
(4) joinder of BIA was feasible.

August

Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Stranburg
799 F.3d 1324
Briefs and other materials from Turtle Talk
No. 14–14524
United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
Aug. 26, 2015.
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 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. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Robert N. Scola, Jr., J., 49 F.Supp.3d 1095, granted tribe's motion for summary judgment. Director appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, N.R. Smith, Circuit Judge, held that:
1)The Court of Appeals, Rosenbaum, Circuit Judge, held that: 1 Indian Reorganization Act precluded state's imposition of rental tax on reservation land;
2) federal regulatory scheme preempted state's imposition of rental tax;
3) it lacked jurisdiction over argument that district court should have abstained, on comity grounds, from reaching merits;
4) district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to dismiss, on comity grounds, claim that tribe was exempt from state's imposition of rental tax;
5) legal incidence of state's tax on gross receipts from utility services fell on utility company; and
6) utility tax was not preempted.
Affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Related News Story: Seminole Tribe won't get to argue taxation case at Supreme Court (Indianz) 6/13/16, Seminole Tribe asks Supreme Court to hear tax case (Indianz) 4/8/16, 11th Circuit Decision Could Have Nationwide Effects (Law Week Colorado) 9/10/15

United States v. Decker
2015 WL 4999644
No. 14–10132
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed Aug. 24, 2015.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Following denial of his motion for judgment of acquittal, 2014 WL 584991, Defendant was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Howard D. McKibben, Senior District Judge, of attempted aggravated sexual abuse and was sentenced to a 190-month prison term. Defendant appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals held that:
(1) indictment was not constructively amended;
(2) submission of jury instruction regarding alleged lesser-included offense of attempted sexual aggravated assault was proper; and
(3) obstruction of justice sentencing increase was warranted.

United States v. Webster
2015 WL 4760273
No. 14–1819
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
Filed: Aug. 13, 2015.

*Synopsis: Defendant was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, Lyle E. Strom, J., of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, and was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment. Defendant appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Benton, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) any variance with "on or about" date-range in defendant's indictment was harmless;
(2) indictment's failure to allege victim's Indian status did not render it defective; and
(3) as a matter of first impression, absence of tribal prosecution is not an element of statute providing federal jurisdiction for crimes occurring within Indian country between an Indian and a non-Indian.

Harvey v. Ute Indian tribe of the Uintah and Ouray reservation
2015 WL 4758958
No. 14–4089
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
Aug. 13, 2015.

*Synopsis: Owners of non-Indian businesses brought Utah state-court action, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to Indian tribe's authority over such businesses operating on certain categories of land, and alleging that individuals affiliated with tribe's employment rights office had harassed and extorted owners, in violation of state law. Defendants removed action. The United States District Court for the District of Utah, Dee Benson, J., 2014 WL 2967468, granted owners' motion for remand to state court. Tribe appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Lucero, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) Court of Appeals declined to investigate further district court's characterization of its decision to remand;
(2) Court of Appeals could not examine whether district court was correct in determining that unanimity was lacking; and
(3) district court's remand order could be colorably characterized as based on lack of unanimity.

United States v. Escalanti
2015 WL 4747310
No. 10–10465
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Submitted Aug. 12, 2015.

*Synopsis: Defendant was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, Susan R. Bolton, J., of first-degree murder, felony murder, and kidnapping under the Indian Major Crimes Act (IMCA). Defendant appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals held that:
1) evidence was sufficient to support finding that defendant was Indian within meaning of IMCA at time of his crimes;
2) failure to instruct jury on test for Indian status under IMCA was not plain error; and
3) evidence was sufficient to establish that murder took place on tribal land, as required to support defendant's convictions of first-degree and felony murder under IMCA.
Affirmed.

Knight v. Thompson
797 F.3d 934
United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
No. 12–11926
Aug. 5, 2015
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Native American inmates brought action against Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC), challenging its male short-hair policy under Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). After bench trial, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Nos. 2:93–cv–01404–WHA–CSC, 2:96–cv–00554–WHA–CSC, W. Harold Albritton III, Senior District Judge, 2012 WL 777274, adopting the report and recommendation of Coody, United States Magistrate Judge, entered judgment for Department. Inmates appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court granted certiorari, vacated the judgment, and remanded for further consideration in light of Holt v. Hobbs.

*Holdings: On remand, the Court of Appeals, Harvey E. Schlesinger, District Judge, sitting by designation, held that:
(1) challenged policy furthered compelling interests, and
(2) challenged policy was least restrictive means of further those compelling interests.

Related News Stories: Native Americans lose fight for long hair in prisons (Dailynews724) 8/7/15

Cressman v. Thompson
798 F.3d 938
No. 14–6020
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
Aug. 4, 2015.

*Synopsis: Citizen brought action against Oklahoma state officials, alleging that depiction of Native American shooting arrow towards sky on Oklahoma state vehicle license plates compelled citizen to communicate pantheistic message in violation of his First Amendment rights. After decision granting officials' motion to dismiss was reversed and remanded on appeal, 719 F.3d 1139, and after bench trial, the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, Joe Heaton, J., 2014 WL 131715, entered judgment in favor of officials. Citizen appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Holmes, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) citizen alleged injury in fact;
(2) even if license plate conveyed government message, citizen's First Amendment rights could still be implicated;
(3) image on license plate was not protected as pure speech;
(4) image qualified as symbolic speech on its reasonably observable message that Oklahoma's history and culture had been strongly influenced by Native Americans; and
(5) citizen did not disagree with message conveyed by image.

Pearson v. United Debt Holdings, LLC
123 F.Supp.3d 1070
14 C 10070
United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division.
Signed August 19, 2015.

*Synopsis: Borrower brought suit to recover under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) for debt collector's misconduct in attempting to collect allegedly usurious and unenforceable loan. Debt collector moved to compel arbitration or to dismiss under "tribal exhaustion" rule.

*Holdings: The District Court, Virginia M. Kendall, J., held that:
(1) unsigned loan agreement that debt collector attached to its motion to compel arbitration, with no affirmation that agreement was found either in debt collector's or in lender's records, or that agreement was presented to borrower when he took out his loan, was not sufficiently authenticated and was insufficient to show that borrower ever agreed to be bound by arbitration clause included in loan agreement, and
(2) "tribal exhaustion" rule did not apply to require district court to abstain from hearing cause of action.
Motion denied.

Flathead Irrigation District v. Jewell
2015 WL 4936063
No. CV 14–88–M–DLC
United States District Court, D. Montana, Missoula Division
Signed Aug. 19, 2015.

*Synopsis: Irrigation district and central control agency brought action alleging that Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) reassumption of control of irrigation and power project on Indian reservation violated statute requiring that management and operation of irrigation project pass to owners of lands irrigated thereby once payments required by statute had been made, and that cooperative management entity (CME) created by agreement with agency and Indian tribes lacked proportional representation as required under state law. United States moved to dismiss, and plaintiffs moved for leave to file second amended complaint.

*Holdings: The District Court, Dana L. Christensen, J., held that:
(1) claim that BIA's reassumption of control of project violated statute did not fall within scope of Administrative Procedure Act's (APA) waiver of sovereign immunity;
(2) BIA's reassumption of control did not violate statute requiring that management and operation of project pass to owners of lands irrigated thereby once payments required by statute had been made;
(3) claim that United States improperly transferred land owned in fee within project area into trust status did not fall within scope of APA's waiver of sovereign immunity;
(4) plaintiffs lacked standing to seek injunction barring United States from transferring land;
(5) claim that operation of power division violated statutes did not fall within scope of APA's waiver of sovereign immunity; and
(6) district's challenge to state's ratification of water compact was not ripe.

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of Lake Traverse Reservation v. United States Corps of Engineers
124 F.Supp.3d 958
No. 3:11–CV–03026–RAL
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Central Division
Signed Aug. 18, 2015.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe and its chairman brought action seeking declaratory, injunctive, and other relief from actions of Corps of Engineers related to permits allowing adjacent landowner's construction of culverted farm road across wetland adjacent to lake to provide access for livestock and equipment. Tribe moved compel production of whole administrative record, to supplement administrative record, and to reconsider equitable tolling.

*Holdings: The District Court, Roberto A. Lange, J., held that:
(1) tribe could not compel Corps to investigate allegations of Clean Water Act (CWA) violations through judicial proceedings;
(2) tribe failed to demonstrate with clear evidence that Corps improperly designated administrative record;
(3) supplementation of administrative record was not warranted;
(4) holding that statute of limitations was not subject to equitable tolling was not manifest error of law that justified reconsideration; and
(5) tribe was not entitled to equitably toll statute of limitations.

Motions granted in part and denied in part.

Grand Canyon Skywalk Development LLC v. Cieslak
2015 WL 4773585
Nos. 2:15–cv–01189–JAD–GWF, 2:13–cv–00596–JAD–GWF
United States District Court, D. Nevada
Signed Aug. 13, 2015.

Legal Topics: Breach of Contract - Public Relations

Sprint Communications Company L.P. v. Wynne
2015 WL 4644983
No. 4:15–CV–04051–KES
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division
Signed Aug. 4, 2015.

*Synopsis: Interstate telecommunications services provider and its parent company brought action against commissioners of tribal utilities commission and Chief Judge of tribal court, seeking a declaratory judgment that neither provider nor its parent company was subject to regulation by the tribal commission and an order permanently enjoining the commission from proceeding against it for violating regulations imposed by the commission. Provider moved for preliminary injunction.

*Holdings: The District Court, Karen E. Schreier, J., held that:
(1) location of activities and conduct by provider did not conclusively reveal a lack of tribal jurisdiction over it in action brought by commission, and thus the doctrine of tribal exhaustion required provider to challenge tribal jurisdiction in tribal court before seeking relief in federal court, and
(2) Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) broad jurisdiction over interstate telecommunications did not make plain that tribe's jurisdiction would be frivolous or obviously invalid, and thus provider was required to challenge tribal jurisdiction in tribal court.

July

Organized Village of Kake v. United States Department of Agriculture
795 F.3d 956
No. 11–35517
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed July 29, 2015.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Village and others brought action against Department of Agriculture, alleging that exemption of national forest from roadless rule violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and the state of Alaska intervened as a defendant. The United States District Court for the District of Alaska, John W. Sedwick, J., 776 F.Supp.2d 960, granted summary judgment to village. Alaska appealed. The Court of Appeals, Bea, Circuit Judge, 746 F.3d 970, reversed and remanded.

*Holdings: On rehearing en banc, the Court of Appeals, Andrew D. Hurwitz, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) Alaska demonstrated that it would suffer an injury in fact if roadless rule was implemented;
(2) Department did not provide substantial justification or a reasoned explanation for its change in policy; and
(3) roadless rule would remain in effect.

Tulalip Tribes v. Suquamish Indian Tribe
2015 WL 4509235
No. 13–35773
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed July 27, 2015.

*Synopsis: Tulalip Indian Tribes filed request for determination that the inland marine waters east of Admiralty Inlet but west of Whidbey Island, as well as Saratoga Passage, Penn Cove, Holmes Harbor, Possession Sound, Port Susan, Tulalip Bay, and Port Gardner, were not within Suquamish Indian Tribe's "usual and accustomed fishing grounds," as established by treaty between United States and Indian tribes in Western Washington under which tribes reserved the right to fish at all usual and accustomed grounds. The United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, Ricardo S. Martinez, J., 2015 WL 3504872, 2013 WL 3897783, granted Tulalip's summary judgment motion in part. Tulalip appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Paez, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) Suquamish Indian Tribe's treaty right of taking fish at "usual and accustomed fishing grounds and stations" was not intended to exclude waters east of Whidbey Island, and
(2) Suquamish Indian Tribe's treaty right was not intended to exclude waters west of Whidbey Island.

U.S. v. Zander
2015 WL 4503264
No. 13–4174
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
July 24, 2015.

*Synopsis: Defendant was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Utah, David Nuffer, J., 2013 WL 7394877, of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and willful failure to file federal tax returns. Defendant appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, McKay, Circuit Judge. held that:
(1) evidence was sufficient to support defendant's conviction for mail fraud;
(2) evidence was sufficient to support defendant's conviction for wire fraud; and
(3) there was no evidence victim's payment of unemployment benefits was connected to defendant's convictions, as required to be included in restitution order.

Idaho v. Coeur D'Alene Tribe
2015 WL 4461055
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
No. 14–35753
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed July 22, 2015.

*Synopsis: State brought action to prevent Indian tribe from offering poker at its casino. The United States District Court for the District of Idaho, B. Lynn Winmill, Chief Judge, 49 F.Supp.3d 751, denied tribe's motion to dismiss and granted state's motion for preliminary injunction. Tribe appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Hawkins, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) tribe's sovereign immunity was abrogated by Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA);
(2) compact between state and tribe did not require that dispute be submitted to arbitration; and
(3) preliminary injunction was warranted.

Pit River Tribe v. Bureau of Land Management
2015 WL 4393982
No. 13–16961
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed July 20, 2015.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe and environmental organizations brought actions alleging that Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) continuation of geothermal leases violated Geothermal Steam Act, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and federal government's fiduciary trust obligation to Indian tribes. After cases were consolidated, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, John A. Mendez, J., entered judgment on pleadings in BLM's favor, and plaintiffs appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Christen, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) tribe had standing to bring private cause of action under Geothermal Steam Act, and
(2) fact issues remained as to whether BLM used improper legal standard in continuing leases.

United States v. Zepeda
2015 WL 4080164
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
No. 10–10131
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed July 7, 2015.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Defendant was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, Roslyn O. Silver, Senior District Judge, of conspiracy to commit assault with dangerous weapon and to commit assault resulting in serious bodily injury, assault resulting in serious bodily injury, assault with dangerous weapon, and use of firearm during crime of violence. Defendant appealed. The Court of Appeals, 738 F.3d 201, reversed and remanded, but subsequently granted rehearing en banc.

*Holdings: On rehearing en banc, the Court of Appeals, William A. Fletcher, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) under the Indian Major Crimes Act (IMCA), government had to prove only that the defendant has some quantum of Indian blood, whether or not traceable to a federally recognized tribe, overruling United States v. Maggi, 598 F.3d 1073;
(2) a defendant must have been an Indian at the time of the charged conduct under the Indian Major Crimes Act;
(3) a tribe's federally recognized status is a question of law to be determined by the trial judge;
(4) evidence at trial was sufficient to support the finding that defendant was an Indian within the meaning of the IMCA at the time of his crimes; and
(5) Defendant's prison term of 90 years and three months was reasonable.

United States of America v. Bryant
2015 WL 4068824
No. 12–30177
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
July 6, 2015.
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.

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

Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort v. National Labor Relations Board
2015 WL 3981378
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
Nos. 14–2405, 14–2558
United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
Decided and Filed: July 1, 2015.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Casino operated by Indian tribe on reservation land petitioned for review of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) order, 2014 WL 5426873, finding that casino's no-solicitation policy was unfair labor practice and ordering casino to cease and desist from maintaining no-solicitation rule and to reinstate employee discharged for violating that rule through union solicitation to her former position with back pay and benefits. NLRB cross-applied for enforcement of its order.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Kathleen M. O'Malley, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) neither 1855 and 1864 treaties nor federal Indian law and policies prevented application of the NLRA to tribal-owned casino operated on trust land within a reservation, and
(2) casino fell within scope of the NLRA, and NLRB had jurisdiction to regulate casino's employment practices.

Jones v. United States
2015 WL 4598343
No. 13–227L
United States Court of Federal Claims
July 30, 2015.

*Synopsis: While their appeal from grant of summary judgment to county, city, and law enforcement officers in separate action was pending, estate and parents of decedent, who was member of Ute Tribe, brought action against United States, alleging, inter alia, that United States violated 1868 Ute Treaty when it engaged in coverup of events surrounding decedent's death on Ute Tribe's Reservation following shootout with officers. United States moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state claim.

*Holdings: The Court of Federal Claims, Horn, J., held that:
(1) any requirement forcing estate to exhaust administrative remedies with Department of Interior (DOI) would be excused;
(2) issues identified by estate were identical to those decided in estate's prior action;
(3) prior action was finally adjudicated on merits;
(4) estate had full and fair opportunity to litigate issues of how decedent died and whether there was coverup in its prior action;
(5) provision of 1863 Ute Treaty did not impose fiduciary duty on United States to guard against assertion of state criminal jurisdiction; and
(6) provision of 1868 Ute Treaty did not make United States liable for alleged trespass of state authorities.

Goodeagle v. U.S.
2015 WL 4536613
No. 12–431L
United States Court of Federal Claims.
Filed: July 28, 2015.

*Synopsis: Members of Indian tribe brought action against federal government, seeking to recover money damages arising from government's alleged breach of fiduciary and trust obligations owed to tribe and its members. Parties cross-moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The Court of Federal Claims, Wheeler, J., held that:
(1) tribal members could seek lost profits for government's mismanagement of individual Indian money (IIM) funds that occurred prior to enactment of 1994 Reform Act, and
(2) government's fiduciary duty to prudently invest IIM funds began on date government began investing such funds.

Poarch Band of Creek Indians v. Hildreth
2015 WL 4469479
Civil Action No. 1:15–0277–CG–C
United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
Signed July 22, 2015.

Legal Topics: Property Tax, Trust Property

Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians v. Crosby
2015 WL 4231596
No. 2:15–cv–00538–GEB–CMK
United States District Court, E.D. California
Signed July 13, 2015.

Legal Topics: Signature Forgery, Employment Termination

South Fork Livestock Partnership v. United States
2015 WL 4232687
No. 3:15–CV–0066–LRH–VPC
United States District Court, D. Nevada
Signed July 13, 2015.

Legal Topics: Grazing Permits, Federal Land and Water Rights

United States v. Washington
129 F.Supp.3d 1069
No. C70–9213
Subproceeding No. 09–01
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, At Seattle.
Signed July 9, 2015.

*Synopsis: Makah Indian Tribe commenced subproceeding to determine usual and accustomed (U & A) fishing grounds of two other tribes, Quileute Indian Tribe and Quinault Indian Nation, specifically as to both tribes' western boundaries in the Pacific Ocean and Quileute tribe's northern boundary, pursuant to 40-year-old permanent injunction allowing tribes to invoke continuing jurisdiction for further determination of their right of taking fish, secured under Treaty of Olympia of 1855.

*Holdings: The District Court, Ricardo S. Martinez, J., held that:
(1) treaty term "fish" encompassed sea mammals;
(2) tribes' U & As included locations where they customarily harvested marine mammals at and before treaty time;
(3) Quinault's western boundary of U & A in Pacific Ocean was 30 miles from shore;
(4) Quileute's western boundary of U & A in Pacific Ocean was 40 miles from shore; and
(5) Quileute's northern boundary of U & A fishing ground was line drawn westerly from Cape Alava.

Ordered accordingly.

Williams v. Poarch Band of Creek Indians
2015 WL 4104611
Civil Action No. 14–594–CG–M
United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
Signed July 8, 2015.

Legal Topics: Employment Age Descrimination

Pro-Football, INC. v. Blackhorse
112 F.Supp.3d 439
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
No. 1:14–cv–01043–GBL–IDD
United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
Signed July 8, 2015.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Owner and operator of professional football team brought action against five Native Americans, seeking review of decision of Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), Kuhlke, Administrative Trademark Judge, 2014 WL 2757516, canceling registration of "REDSKINS" trademarks under Lanham Act's "may disparage" provision. The District Court, Gerald Bruce Lee, J., 62 F.Supp.3d 498, denied Native Americans' motion to dismiss. Parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Gerald Bruce Lee, J., held that:
(1) cancellation of trademark registrations did not violate team's free speech rights;
(2) federal trademark registration program is government speech that is exempt from First Amendment scrutiny;
(3) Lanham Act's "may disparage" provision was not facially void for vagueness under due process principles;
(4) Lanham Act's "may disparage" provision, as applied, was not void for vagueness;
(5) trademark registrations were not property interests protected by due process or Takings Clause;
(6) evidence established that registered "REDSKINS" marks may disparage Native Americans; and
(7) unreasonably delay, as required for team's laches defense, was not shown.

Doe v. Jesson
2015 WL 4067170
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
Civil No. 15–2639 (JRT/SER)
United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Signed July 2, 2015.

Legal Topics: Adoption, Indian Child Welfare Act - Notice, Tribal Enrollment

Northern Arapaho Tribe v. Burwell
2015 WL 4639324
Case No. 14–CV–247–SWS
United States District Court, D. Wyoming
Signed July 2, 2015.

*Synopsis: Native-American tribe brought action seeking exemption from large employer mandate in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which required a large employer to sponsor a health insurance plan meeting certain minimum requirements for its full-time employees or face an assessable payment if it failed to do so. Government moved to dismiss.

*Holdings: The District Court, Scott W. Skavdahl, J., held that:
1) both Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) and Declaratory Judgment Act (DJA) barred tribe's claims;
2) tribe could not bring suit under parens patriae doctrine;
3) tribe's waiver by failing to participate in notice-and-comment process was not excused;
4) Congress's intent to Include tribes as large employers was clear;
5) large employer mandate was provision of general applicability; and
6) Treasury regulations were consistent with congressional intent in enacting large employer mandate.
Motion granted.

June

Pistor v. Garcia
2015 WL 3953448
No. 12–17095
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed June 30, 2015.

*Synopsis: "Advantage gamblers" brought 1983 action against tribal police chief, tribal gaming office inspector, and general manager of casino, which was owned and operated by tribe on tribal land, for detaining gamblers and seizing their property in violation of gamblers' Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The United States District Court for the District of Arizona, Frederick J. Martone, Senior District Judge, 2012 WL 3848453, denied defendants' motion to dismiss. Gamblers appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Berzon, Circuit Judge, held that tribal police chief, tribal gaming office inspector, and general manager of casino were not entitled to invoke the tribe's sovereign immunity from liability in their individual capacities.

Pueblo of Jemez v. United States
790 F3d. 1143
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
No. 13–2181
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
June 26, 2015.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action against the United States, seeking to quiet its allegedly unextinguished and continuing aboriginal title to lands under the federal common law and the Quiet Title Act (QTA). The United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, Robert C. Brack, J., dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Indian tribe appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Seymour, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1)United States' grant of land to private landowners did not extinguish a tribe's aboriginal right of occupancy;
(2) there was no evidence that private landowners' use of the land was inconsistent with tribe's occupancy of the land;
(3) tribe sufficiently put the United States on notice of its claim to aboriginal title; and
(4) the Preservation Act did not extinguish the tribe's aboriginal title.

Related News Stories: Appeals court revives Jemez Pueblo's claim to Valles Caldera (Albuquerque Journal) 6/26/15

Robinson v. Jewell
2015 WL 3824658
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
No. 12–17151
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed June 22, 2015.

*Synopsis: Non-federally recognized Native American tribe and its elected chairperson sued Secretary of Department of Interior (DOI), county, and ranch owners asserting title to ranch. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, Barbara McAuliffe, United States Magistrate Judge, 885 F.Supp.2d 1002, dismissed complaint, and plaintiffs appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Thomas, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) tribe's failure to present claim pursuant to California Land Claims Act of 1851 extinguished its title to property;
(2) Congress's ratification of 1849 Treaty with Utah did not give tribe any enforceable rights to property;
(3) treaty that was never ratified by Senate carried no legal effect;
(4) reservation for tribe was not created pursuant to Act of Congress of 1853; and
(5) any rights to property that tribe possessed as result of Acts of 1853 and 1855 were extinguished by Act of 1864.

Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation v. Utah
2015 WL 3705904
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
Nos. 14–4028, 14–4031, 14–4034
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
June 16, 2015.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action alleging that state and local governments were unlawfully trying to displace tribal authority on tribal lands. State and counties filed counterclaims alleging that tribe infringed their sovereignty. The United States District Court for the District of Utah denied tribe's motion for preliminary injunction to halt tribal member's prosecution for alleged traffic offenses on tribal land, tribe's claim of immunity from counterclaims, and county's claim of immunity from tribe's suit.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Gorsuch, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) county's prosecution of tribal member constituted irreparable injury to tribal sovereignty;
(2) Anti-Injunction Act did not bar federal court from issuing preliminary injunction;
(3)Younger abstention was not warranted;
(4) mutual assistance agreement between state and tribe did not waive tribe's sovereign immunity from suit in state court;
(5) doctrine of equitable recoupment did not apply to permit state and county to assert counterclaims; and
(6) county attorneys were not entitled to sovereign immunity.

Two Shields v. Wilkinson
2015 WL 3634541
No. 13–3773
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
Filed: June 12, 2015.

*Synopsis: Native Americans, which were allotted interests in land by United States under Dawes Act that United States held in trust, filed putative class action against companies and affiliated individuals which leased oil and gas mining rights on their allotments, alleging companies aided, abetted and induced United States to breach its fiduciary duty by approving leases. The United States District Court for the District of North Dakota, Daniel L. Hovland, J., dismissed action on basis that United States was required party which could not be joined, but without which action could not proceed. Native Americans appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Murphy, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) United States was required party which should be joined if feasible, and
(2) District Court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing action, on basis that United States was required party that could not be joined due to lack of waiver of sovereign immunity.

National Labor Relations Board v. Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Tribal Government
2015 WL 3556005
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
No. 14–2239
United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
Filed: June 9, 2015.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: The National Labor Relations Board, 361 NLRB No. 45, 200 L.R.R.M. 2005, 2014 WL 4626007, filed application for enforcement of order for Indian tribe to cease and desist from enforcing provisions of ordinance regulating employment and labor-organizing activities of its employees that conflicted with National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Julia Smith Gibbons, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) Board's determination that NLRA's definition of "employers" extended to Indian tribes was not entitled to Chevron deference, and
(2) NLRA applied to tribe's operation of casino.
Application granted. Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk

Sixth Circuit Denies En Banc Petition (Turtle Talk) 9/21/15

Big Lagoon Rancheria v. State of California
2015 WL 4100062
Briefs from Turtle Talk blog
Nos. 10–17803
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed: June 4, 2015.

*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 tribal trust land. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Claudia Wilken, P.J., granted summary judgment for tribe, 759 F.Supp.2d 1149, but, subsequently, granted state's motion for stay pending appeal, 2012 WL 298464. Both parties appealed. The Court of Appeals, Block, District Judge, sitting by designation, 741 F.3d 1032, reversed and remanded. On remand, the District Court, Wilken, Chief Judge, denied state's motion for continuance to conduct additional discovery. Parties cross-appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, O'Scannlain, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) state's claim that tribe lacked standing to bring the action was a prohibited collateral attack on administrative proceedings;
(2) any claim under Administrative Procedure Act (APA) challenging administrative decision was governed by six-year statute of limitations;
(3) District Court was within its discretion in denying state's motion for continuance to conduct additional discovery; and
(4) tribe's cross-appeal was moot.
Affirmed.

Related News Stories: Northern California tribe wins right to develop casino (LA Times) 6/10/2015. En Banc Ninth Circuit rejects untimely, collateral challenge to legal status of tribe's trust lands and federal recognition (Lexology) 6/5/2015

United States v. Billie
2015 WL 3450537
No. 14–13843
D.C. Docket No. 1:14–mc–20938–CMA
United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
June 1, 2015.

*Synopsis: Government filed petition to enforce Internal Revenue Service (IRS) administrative summons against the chairman of the general council of a Native American tribe. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Cecilia M. Altonaga, J., 2014 WL 4370329, entered enforcement order. Chairman appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals held that summons was enforceable.

Crow Allottees Association v. United States Bureau of Indian Affairs
2015 WL 4041303
No. CV 14–62–BLG–SPW
United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division
Signed June 30, 2015.

Legal Topics: Rights to Water for Irrigation

Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. U.S. Department of the Interior
2015 WL 3862534
Civil Action No. 15–cv–01303–MSK
United States District Court, D. Colorado
Signed June 22, 2015.

Legal Topics: Oil and Gas, Fracking, Indian Lands

United Planners Financial Services of America v. Sac and Fox Nation
2015 WL 3756181
No. CIV–14–1278–HE
United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
Signed June 16, 2015.

Legal Topics: Broker Agreements, Sovereign Immunity

In re Womelsdorf
2015 WL 3643477
Bankruptcy Case No. 12–62075–fra7
United States Bankruptcy Court, D. Oregon
Filed June 11, 2015.

Legal Topics: Bankruptcy

Cayuga Nation v. Tanner
108 F.Supp.3d 29
No. 5:14–CV–1317.
United States District Court, N.D. New York
June 11, 2015.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe and unnamed tribal officers, employees, and/or representatives brought action alleging that Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) preempted village from enforcing its local anti-gambling laws against tribe and its establishment. After court dismissed complaint, 2015 WL 2381301, tribe moved for reconsideration and for injunction pending appeal.

*Holdings: The District Court, David N. Hurd, J., held that:
1) individual plaintiffs lacked standing to bring action, and
2) tribe was entitled to stay pending appeal.
Motion for reconsideration denied; motion for injunction granted.

Borrichio v. Casino
2015 WL 3648698
Nos. 1:14–CV–818 AWI SMS, 1:14–CV–819 AWI SMS, 1:14–CV–820 AWI SMS, 1:14–CV–821 AWI SMS, 1:14–CV–822 AWI SMS
United States District Court, E.D. California
Filed June 10, 2015.

Legal Topics: Employment Discrimination, Casinos

Patchak v. Jewell and Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
109 F.Supp.3d 152
No. 08-1331
United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Filed: June 7, 2015.

Legal Topics: Land into Trust

National Labor Relations Board Chickasaw Nation D/B/A Winstar World Casino and International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 886, Affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters
2015 WL 3526096
Cases 17-CA-025031 and 17-CA-025121
June 4, 2015.

Legal Topics: National Labor Relations Act

Native American Arts Inc. v. Peter Stone Co.
2015 WL 3561439
No. 08 C 3908
United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
Signed June 9, 2015.

Legal Topics: Indian Arts and Crafts Act

May

Luckerman v. Narragansett Indian Tribe
2015 WL 3440320
No. 14-1106
United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit
May 29, 2015.

*Synopsis: Attorney filed state court action alleging that Indian tribe failed to fully compensate him for his services. After removal, the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island, William E. Smith, J., 965 F.Supp.2d 224, denied tribe's motion to dismiss and attorney's motion to remand, and later denied tribe's motion for reconsideration. Tribe appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Kayatta, Circuit Judge, held that denial of tribe's motion for reconsideration was not immediately appealable collateral order.

Sorace v. United States
2015 WL 3396641
Nos. 14–2683
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
Filed: May 27, 2015.

*Synopsis: Administratrix of estates of two individuals killed in drunk-driving accident on Indian reservation brought action against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), alleging that tribe's police department was negligent in failing to arrest drunk driver prior to the accident. The United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, Roberto A. Lange, J., 2014 WL 2033149, granted United States' motion to dismiss. Administratrix appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, White, J., held that:
(1) allegation that tribe's police department was negligent for failing to stop drunk driver's vehicle was insufficient to state a negligence claim;
(2) third party's alleged contact with police department was insufficient to show reasonable reliance, as required to establish that police department owed a special duty to individuals;
(3) federal and tribal regulations, handbooks, and laws were not relevant in determining whether police department owed a special duty;
(4) South Dakota's nuisance and driving under the influence laws did not impose a special duty; and
(5) administratrix failed to allege that individuals were in a worse position than before drunk driver's erratic driving was reported to police department because of an official action, as required to establish a special duty.
Affirmed.

Longo v. Seminole Indian Casino-Immokalee
110 F.Supp.3d 1252
No. 2:14-cv-01939-TLN-CKD
United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
Filed May 21, 2015

*Synopsis: Former employee of tribe-owned casino brought action against casino, alleging claims under Title VII and Florida Civil Rights Act. Casino moved to dismiss.

*Holdings: The District Court, Sheri Polster Chappell, J., held that Indian tribe was immune from claims alleged by former employee of tribe-owned casino.

Motion granted.

Related News Stories: Federal list is final word on Indian tribe's immunity from suit - 11th Circuit (Reuters) 2/25/16

La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle Advisory Committee v. U.S. DOI
603 Fed.Appx. 651
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
Nos. 13–56799
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed: May 19, 2015.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

Legal Topic: Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Fort Yates Public School District #4 v. Murphy
2015 WL 2330317
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
Nos. 14–1549, 14–1702
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
Filed: May 15, 2015.

*Synopsis: After parent of student who was a tribe member filed tribal-court complaint alleging tort claims against nonmember public school district, school district filed federal-court complaint seeking declaration that tribal court lacked jurisdiction. The United States District Court for the District of North Dakota, Ralph R. Erickson, Chief Judge, 997 F.Supp.2d 1009, granted parent's motion to dismiss. School district appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Smith, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) agreement between tribe and school district was not a consensual relationship that conferred jurisdiction on tribal court over parent's suit;
(2) parent's suit did not involve conduct that threatened or had some direct effect on political integrity, economic security, or health or welfare of the tribe, as would have given tribal court jurisdiction;
(3) sovereign immunity barred school district's suit against tribal court; and
(4) school district was not required to exhaust its tribal remedies before commencing suit.
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded

Belcourt Public School District v. Davis
2015 WL 2330293
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
Nos. 14–1541, 14–1542, 14–1543, 14–1545, 14–1548
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
Filed: May 15, 2015.

*Synopsis: School district and its employees brought action seeking a declaration that Indian tribal court lacked jurisdiction over tribe members' claims against district and employees for defamation, excessive use of force, and various employment related-claims. District moved for default judgment against one tribe member. The United States District Court for the District of North Dakota, Ralph R. Erickson, Chief Judge, 997 F.Supp.2d 1017, denied motion and held that tribal court had jurisdiction. District and employees appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Smith, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) even if district could agree to expand tribal court jurisdiction under North Dakota law, agreement between district and tribe was not a "consensual relationship" within meaning of exception to general rule that a tribe may not regulate activities of nonmembers, and thus tribal court lacked jurisdiction over tribe members' action;
(2) tribe members' claims did not involve conduct that threatened or directly effected the political integrity, economic safety, or health or welfare of the tribe, and thus tribal court lacked jurisdiction over claims; and
(3) district court did not abuse its discretion in denying school district's motion for default judgment.

Colbert v. United States
2015 WL 2119080
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
No. 14–12007
United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
May 7, 2015.

*Synopsis: The estate of an occupant of a car killed in an accident and an occupant injured in the accident brought a wrongful death and negligence claims against an attorney for the Navajo Nation Department of Justice (NNDOJ) and the United States, after the attorney drove the wrong way down a one-way road, causing the accident. After finding that the attorney was a federal employee acting in the scope of his employee, pursuant to a self-determination contract with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the District Court dismissed the attorney and substituted the United States as the party defendant under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Following a bench trial, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Harvey E. Schlesinger, J., found the United States 80% at fault for the accident. The government appealed.

*Holdings: In a matter of first impression, the Court of Appeals, Voorhees, District Judge, sitting by designation, held that the attorney was covered as an employee of the BIA under the FTCA.

Yurok Tribe v. Department of the Interior
785 F.3d 1405
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
No. 2014–1529
United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
May 8, 2015.

*Synopsis: Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, 2014 WL 718420, dismissed claim by Indian tribe that it had justice services contract with Bureau of Indian Affairs of Department of Interior and that it was entitled to payment under it, and denied reconsideration, 2014 WL 2457394. Tribe petitioned for judicial review.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Moore, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) letter from tribe triggered 90 day response deadline;
(2) self-determination contracts are not limited to funding for programs the government currently provides to the requesting tribe; and
(3) claim by tribe presented pre-award dispute that Civilian Board of Contract Appeals could not review.

City of Duluth v. Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
2015 WL 2151774
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
No. 13–3408.
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
Filed: May 8, 2015.

*Synopsis: City sued band of Native American tribe, alleging breach of contractual obligations created when city and band agreed to establish casino in city's downtown, and also seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. After it was compelled to arbitrate amount of withheld taxes owed to city, tribe moved for relief from final order. The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, Susan Richard Nelson, J., entered summary judgment barring tribe from challenging agreement's validity, 708 F.Supp.2d 890, entered order compelling tribe to arbitrate amount of rent to be paid to city for extension term, 2011 WL 1832786, and granted in part and denied in part tribe's motion for relief, 830 F.Supp.2d 712. Tribe appealed. The Court of Appeals, 702 F.3d 1147, affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. On remand, tribe moved for relief from judgment. The District Court, 977 F.Supp.2d 944, denied motion. Tribe appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Murphy, Circuit Judge, held that district court was required to consider intent of Congress in Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) to ensure that primary beneficiaries of Indian gaming operations were to be tribes.

United States v. Washington
2015 WL 3451316
No. C70-9213.
Subproceeding No. 89-3-09
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Tacoma
Signed May 29, 2015.

Legal Topics: Treaty Fishing Rights

Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians v. United States
2015 WL 2393651
No. 14–1051L
United States Court of Federal Claims
Filed: May 20, 2015.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action alleging that grant of patent to another tribe by Interior Department interfered with its property rights and effected taking, in contravention of Fifth Amendment, and breached government's fiduciary duty to hold land in trust for its exclusive use and possession. United States moved to dismiss.

*Holdings: The Court of Federal Claims, Lettow, J., held that:
(1) tribe's claim was timely;
(2) fact issues remained whether Congress intended to bestow beneficial interest in tract on tribe; and
(3) other tribe was not indispensable party.

Griffith v. Caney Valley Public Schools
2015 WL 2451226
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
Case No. 15-CV-273-GKF-FHM
United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma
Filed: May 20, 2015.

Legal Topics: Freedom of Religion; Education Policy

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes v. United States Department of Interior
No. CV-14-44-M-DLC
United States District Court, District of Montana Missoula Division
Filed May 18, 2015.

Legal Topics: Indian Water Rights

Blue Lake Rancheria v. Lanier
106 F.Supp.3d 1134
No. 2:11–cv–01124–JAM–JFM
United States District Court, E.D. California
Filed May 13, 2015.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action against officers of California Employment Development Department, alleging that department violated tribal sovereign immunity by attaching liens on tribal assets, and seeking to enjoin collection actions and cancel liens, and declaratory judgment that department's actions violated tribe's sovereign immunity. Tribe moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, John A. Mendez, J., held that:
1) district court was not required to grant continuance to conduct additional discovery before ruling on tribe's summary judgment motion;
2) as an issue of first impression, tribal sovereign immunity barred tax enforcement action to place lien on tribal property under California law; and
3) there was no evidence that tribe waived sovereign immunity.
Motion granted.

Fort Sill Apache Tribe v. National Indian Gaming Commission and Chaudhuri
2015 WL 2203497
Civil Action No. 14–958 (RMC)
United States District Court, District of Columbia
Signed May 12, 2015.

*Synopsis: Tribe brought action under Administrative Procedure Act (ADA) to compel National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) to issue decision on tribe's appeal of notice of violation issued by NISC's chairman alleging that tribe had violated Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) by gaming on Indian lands ineligible for gaming. NIGC moved to dismiss.

*Holdings: The District Court, Rosemary M. Collyer, J., held that:
(1) action fell within scope of Administrative Procedure Act's (ADA) waiver of sovereign immunity;
(2) court had subject matter jurisdiction over action; and
(3) notice of violation was not final agency action.

Team Systems International, LLC v. Haozous
2015 WL 2131479
No. CIV–14–1018–D
United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
Signed May 7, 2015.

Legal Topics: Second Amendment; Sovereign Immunity

Bear v. The County of Jackson
2015 WL 1969760
No. 5:14–CV–5059–KES
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division.
Signed May 1, 2015.

Legal Topics: Voting Discrimination; Equal Opportunity

April

Wisconsin v. Ho-Chunk Nation
2015 WL 1918506
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
No. 14–2529
United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.
Decided April 29, 2015.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Wisconsin brought action against Indian tribe to stop the tribe from offering electronic poker at its gaming facility. Parties cross-moved for summary judgment. The United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, Barbara B. Crabb, J., granted state's motion. Tribe appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Wood, Chief Judge, held that Wisconsin could not interfere with tribe's decision to conduct nonbanked poker on tribal lands.

Schlemm v. Wall
784 F.3d 362
No. 14–2604
United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.
Decided April 21, 2015.

*Synopsis: Prisoner, a Navajo Tribe member, brought action under Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) against Wisconsin Department of Corrections, seeking an order requiring the state prison system to accommodate some of his religious practices. The United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, William M. Conley, Chief Judge, 2014 WL 2591879, granted prison's summary judgment motion. Prisoner appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Easterbrook, Circuit Judge, held that:
1) genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether prisoner's inability to eat game meat for a religious feast substantially burdened his religious exercise, precluding summary judgment on prisoner's RLUIPA claim, and
2) genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether prisoner's inability to wear a multicolored headband while praying in his cell and during group religious ceremonies substantially burdened his religious exercise, precluding summary judgment on prisoner's RLUIPA claim.
Affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Tulalip Tribes of Washington v. Washington
2015 WL 1740895
No. 13–35464
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed April 17, 2015.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action against the State of Washington, seeking a declaration that the State had breached the "most-favored tribe" clause of a Tribal-State Indian gaming compact. The United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, Richard A. Jones, J., 2013 WL 2253668, granted summary judgment to the State. The Indian Tribe appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, McKeown, Circuit Judge, held that the State was not required to amend its Tribal-State Indian gaming compact to provide an alternative mechanism for a Tribe to obtain additional video player terminals.

Tremblay v. Mohegan Sun Casino
599 Fed.Appx. 25
No. 14–2031–CV
United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
April 7, 2015.

Legal Topics: Age Discrimination; Casinos

Shinnecock Indian Nation v. The United States
2015 WL 1529231
No. 2014–5015
United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
April 7, 2015.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action against federal government, alleging that government, acting through federal court system, denied any and all judicial means of effective redress for unlawful taking of lands currently comprising New York town from tribe and its members. Government moved to dismiss tribe's claims as unripe and outside court's jurisdiction. The United States Court of Federal Claims, Emily C. Hewitt, Chief Judge, 112 Fed.Cl. 369, granted motion. Tribe appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Mayer, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) tribe's breach of trust claims against United States were not ripe for adjudication, and
(2) Court of Federal Claims lacked jurisdiction over tribe's judicial takings claim.

The Hopi Tribe v. The United States
2015 WL 1474727
No. 2014–5018
United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit.
April 2, 2015.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action against federal government, alleging that Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) failed to ensure that water supply on tribe's reservation contained safe levels of arsenic, and seeking to recover damages for breach of trust. The United States Court of Federal Claims, Lawrence J. Block, J., 113 Fed.Cl. 43, dismissed the action. Tribe appealed.

*Holdings:The Court of Appeals, Hughes, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) neither Executive Order of 1882 nor Act of 1958 established any enforceable substantive right;
(2) by holding reserved water rights in trust under Act of 1958, fiduciary duty could not be inferred under Winters doctrine that Congress intended United States to be responsible for providing water infrastructure and treatment needed to eliminate naturally occurring contaminants such as arsenic on Indian reservation; and
(3) Congress did not expressly accept common-law fiduciary duty to manage water resources of Indian reservation through statutes that only required United States to assist in provision of safe drinking water, but did not restrict tribe from managing resource itself.

Quechan Tribe of Fort Yuma Indian Reservation v. United States
599 Fed.Appx. 698 (Mem)
No. 11–16334
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed April 1, 2015.

Legal Topics: Fiduciary Duty - Health Care

Chickasaw Nation v. Department of Interior
161 F.Supp.3d 1094
No. CIV-05-1524-W
United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
Signed April 22, 2015.

*Synopsis: Two Indian Nations brought action against United States and Department of the Interior, seeking to challenge sale of Nations' unallotted lands, principally valuable for timber, under Five Tribes Act. Parties cross-moved for partial summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Leer R. West, J., J., held that Act's plain text permitted Department to sell subject lands.
Defendants' motion granted..

Jamul Action Committee v. Chaudhuri
2015 WL 1802813
No. 2:13–cv–01920–KJM–KJN
United States District Court, E.D. California
Filed April 17, 2015.

Legal Topics: Indian Gaming, Repatriation

Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma v. United States
120 Fed.Cl. 612
No. 12–592L
United States Court of Federal Claims
Filed: April 16, 2015.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought claim against federal government, seeking money damages arising from government's alleged breach of fiduciary and trust obligations owed to tribe. Parties cross-moved for partial summary judgment.

*Holdings: The Court of Federal Claims, Wheeler, J., held that:
(1) Indian Claims Commission (ICC) judgment was made in favor of tribe;
(2) tribe was the proper recipient of any unclaimed per capita payments from ICC judgment trust; and
(3) genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether funds ICC judgment were actually and fully paid to the proper recipients.
Motions denied.

Corabi v. ENIPC Inc.
2015 WL 5042828
No. 14–CV–01081–MV–LAM
United States District Court, D. New Mexico
Signed April 10, 2015.

*Synopsis: Former tribal council employee brought action against the council alleging breach of contract and wrongful termination. Council moved to dismiss.

*Holdings: The District Court, Martha Vazquez, J., held that court lacked jurisdiction because the parties were not diverse.

Navajo Health Foundation-Sage Memorial Hospital, INC. v. Burwell
2015 WL 1906107
No. CIV 14–0958 JB/GBW
United States District Court, D. New Mexico.
Filed April 9, 2015.

*Synopsis: Tribal hospital brought action against Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services, among others, alleging that decision of Navajo Area Indian Health Service (NAIHS) not to renew its contract with hospital violated Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA). Hospital moved for immediate injunctive relief.

*Holdings: The District Court, James O. Browning, J., held that:
(1) permanent injunctive relief was not warranted prior to summary judgment;
(2) hospital would likely suffer irreparable harm absent a preliminary injunction;
(3) NAIHS violated ISDEAA by relying on information beyond four corners of hospital's proposals;
(4) balance of harms weighed in favor of granting a preliminary injunction; and
(5) public interest supported granting a preliminary injunction.

March

Crow Tribal Housing Authority v. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
2015 WL 1344760
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
No. 13-35284.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted October 9, 2015.
Filed March 26, 2015.

*Synopsis: Tribal housing authority brought action to challenge action by Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to recoup alleged overpayments of grant funds to housing authority under Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA). The United States District Court for the District of Montana, Richard F. Cebull, Senior District Judge, 924 F.Supp.2d 1217, ruled that HUD violated Tribe's right to NAHASDA's notice and hearing and remanded case to HUD for hearing. HUD appealed.

*Holdings:The Court of Appeals, Christen, Circuit Judge, held that: (1) on-site review triggered opportunity for hearing, and (2) HUD was not required to hold hearing.

In re Torres
599 Fed.Appx. 650
No. 13–56066
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Filed March 24, 2015.
This Case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. See the Supreme Court Bulletin for more information.

*Synopsis: Following disallowance of Indian tribe's proof of claim, Chapter 11 debtor, a licensed contractor who had been hired to make certain infrastructure improvements on tribal lands, filed motion for sanctions, arguing that tribe had filed and pursued an allegedly fraudulent and false claim. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, Robin Riblet, J., denied the motion, and debtor appealed. The District Court, Michael W. Fitzgerald, J., 2013 WL 1248640, affirmed. Debtor appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals held that the bankruptcy court did not abuse its discretion in denying debtor's motion for sanctions.

Rojas v. Heimgartner
604 Fed.Appx. 692
No. 14–3178
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
March 20, 2015.

*Synopsis: Kansas state prisoner brought § 1983 action against prison warden, alleging violations of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The United States District Court for the District of Kansas, J. Thomas Marten, Chief Judge, 2014 WL 3880999, dismissed action. Prisoner appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Carlos F. Lucero, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) prison regulations, prohibiting prisoners from wearing colored bandanas and white bandanas outside of group worship services, did not violate prisoner's First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion, and
(2) regulations did not violate equal protection even though they allowed Muslim and Rastafarian prisoners to wear close-fitting hemispheric black caps.

Allen v. Smith
2015 WL 1138391
No. 13-55552.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted March 6, 2015.
Filed March 16, 2015.

Legal Topics: Disenrollment

Auga Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians v. Coachella Valley Water District
2015 WL 1600065
No. EDCV 13–883–JGB
United States District Court, C.D. California
Signed March 20, 2015.

Legal Topics: Indian Water Rights - Groundwater

City of Duluth v. National Indian Gaming Commission
2015 WL 1447548 (D.D.C.)
No. 13-246(CKK)
United States District Court, District of Columbia
Signed March 31, 2015.

*Synopsis: Municipality brought suit under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), challenging notice of violation that the National Indian Gaming Commission issued to Indian tribe with respect to its gaming establishment in municipality. Parties cross-moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Colleen Kollar–Kotelly, J., held that:
(1) Commission did not exceed scope of its authority under enforcement provision of the IGRA;
(2) Commission's interpretation of provision of the IGRA requiring that "an Indian tribe have the 'sole proprietary interest' in any Indian gaming activity authorized by the act," was entitled to Chevron, and not just Skidmore, deference;
(3) Commission did not act in arbitrary and capricious manner; and
(4) frustrated expectations on part of municipality did not transform the prospective relief granted in notice of violation into impermissible retrospective relief.

Mackinac Tribe v. Sally Jewell
2015 WL 1517514
No. 14–cv–0456 (KBJ)
United States District Court, District of Columbia
Signed March 31, 2015.

*Synopsis: Tribe filed suit against Secretary of Interior, seeking declaration that it was federally recognized tribe and for order directing Secretary to hold constitutional election so that tribe could form government. Secretary filed motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction for failure to state claim.

*Holdings: The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Ketanji Brown Jackson, J., held that:
(1) provision of Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) that action to enforce IRA may be brought in appropriate federal district court was not express waiver of United States' sovereign immunity from suit;
(2) United States' waiver of sovereign immunity under Administrative Procedure Act (APA) extended to tribe's claim; and
(3) tribe's exhaustion of administrative remedies for federal recognition as tribe under Part 83 Process was prerequisite to suit.

Oglala Sioux v. Van Hunnik
2015 WL 1466067
No. CIV. 13–5020–JLV
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division.
Signed March 30, 2015.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe and tribe members brought action against state court judge, county attorney, secretary of state department of social services, and department employees, alleging that defendants' policies, practices, and procedures relating to the removal of Indian children from their homes during state court 48–hour hearings violated Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Tribe and members moved for partial summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Jeffrey L. Viken, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) judicial and prosecutorial immunity did not extend to county attorney, secretary of state department of social services, and social services employees;
(2) policies and practices of state court judge did not comply with requirement of ICWA; and
(3) process developed by state court judge for 48–hour hearings on removal of Indian children from homes violated due process.

Unite Here Local 19 v. Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians
2015 WL 1498847
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
No. 1:14–cv–01136–MCE–SAB
United States District Court, E.D. California
Signed March 27, 2015.

*Synopsis: Labor union petitioned for confirmation and enforcement of labor arbitration award ordering Indian tribe to reinstate and pay monetary compensation to terminated employees. Union moved for judgment on the pleadings.

*Holdings: The District Court, Morrison C. England, Jr., Chief Judge, held that:
(1) arbitrator's decision was a plausible interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and
(2) labor union was entitled to confirmation and enforcement of labor arbitration award.

Upstate Citizens for Equality, Inc. v. Jewell
2015 WL 1399366
Briefs and other Materials from Turtle Talk
No. 5:08-cv-0633 (LEK/DEP)
United States District Court, N.D. New York
Signed March 26, 2015.

Legal Topics: The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, Land Rights

Mishewal Wappo v. Jewell
2015 WL 1306930
No. 5:09-CV-02502-EJD
United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
March 23, 2015.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe filed complaint against the federal government for alleged illegal termination and distribution of rancheria property. Parties filed motions for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Edward J. Davila, J., held that:
(1) action was subject to catchall statute of limitations provision requiring that every civil action against United States be brought within six years after right of action first accrues;
(2) action accrued, for limitations purposes, no later than date when notice of the rancheria's final termination was published in Federal Register; and
(3) equitable tolling of limitations period was not warranted.

Yakama and Umatilla v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service
2015 WL 1276811
No. CV-3052-TOR.
United States District Court, E.D. Washington
March 20, 2015.

Legal Topics: National Historic Preservation Act; Sacred Sites

Texas v. Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo
2015 WL 1003879
No. EP-99-CV-320-KC.
United States District Court, W.D. Texas
March 6, 2015

Legal Topics: Indian Gaming; Sweepstakes

February

U.S. v. Brown
2015 WL 528207
Briefs from Turtle Talk
Nos. 13-3800, 13-3801, 13-3802, 13-3803.
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Submitted: October 9, 2014. Filed: February 10, 2015.

*Synopsis: Members of Chippewa Indian tribe were indicted under the Lacey Act, which makes it unlawful to sell any fish taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any Indian tribal law. Tribal members moved to dismiss indictments on the ground that their prosecution violated fishing rights reserved under the 1837 Treaty between the United States and the Chippewa. The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, John R. Tunheim, J., 2013 WL 6175202, granted motion. United States appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Murphy, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) tribal members had usufructuary rights protecting their right to fish and sell fish, and
(2) Lacey Act did not abrogate tribal members' usufructuary rights to sell fish caught on Indian reservation.
Affirmed.

U.S. v. Martin
2015 WL 451118
Nos. 13-2410, 13-3221, 14-1039.
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Submitted: Nov. 13, 2014. Filed: Feb. 4, 2015.

*Synopsis: Defendants were jointly tried in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. Two defendants were convicted of murder and robbery in Indian country, and a third was convicted only of robbery in Indian country.
Defendants appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Murphy, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) any error in district court's ex parte communication with jury venire was harmless;
(2) defendant's stipulation established that he was an Indian under statute governing crimes committed in Indian country;
(3) defendant's stipulation was voluntary and knowing;
(4) district court properly denied defendant's motion to sever trial;
(5) prosecutor did not impermissibly comment on defendant's failure to testify;
(6) refusal to give defendant's proposed instruction for lesser-included-offense of theft was not abuse of discretion; and
(7) district court properly imposed 6-level enhancement because defendant should have foreseen that robbery would result in permanent or life threatening bodily injury.
Affirmed.

Massachusetts v. Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head
2015 WL 854850
Civil Action No. 13-13286-FDS.
United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
February 27, 2015.

*Synopsis: State filed state court action alleging that federally recognized Indian tribe's failure to obtain state license for its commercial gaming operations on tribal lands violated parties' settlement agreement. After removal, town and community association intervened. Tribe filed counterclaim and third party claims against state and state officials. Tribe moved to dismiss, and state and officials moved to dismiss counterclaims.

*Holdings: The District Court, Saylor, J., held that:
(1) tribe was barred by doctrine of issue preclusion from asserting that it had not waived its sovereign immunity;
(2) United States was not required party;
(3) state did not waive its Eleventh Amendment immunity from suit in federal court;
(4) tribe's counterclaim to enjoin state from interfering with gaming activities on tribal land did not fall within exception to sovereign immunity;
(5) tribe's counterclaims to enjoin state officials from interfering with its gaming activities on tribal land were cognizable under Ex parte Young doctrine; and
(6) tribe had standing to assert counterclaim for injunctive relief.

U.S. v. Washington
2015 WL 687339
No. C70-9213RSM. Subproceeding No. 09-01.
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Seattle.
February 18, 2015.

*Synopsis: In action brought against state of Washington by the United States for declaratory and injunctive relief concerning off-reservation treaty right fishing, Indian tribe commenced subproceeding requesting a determination of other tribes' Pacific Ocean customary fishing grounds. Tribes cross-moved for summary judgment as to issue of availability of equitable defenses in the subproceeding.

*Holdings: The District Court, Ricardo S. Martinez, J., held that:
(1) plaintiff was not judicially estopped from bringing subproceeding for adjudication of defendants' usual and accustomed treaty fishing grounds;
(2) plaintiff did not unreasonably delay in bringing subproceeding, and, thus, laches defense did not apply; and
(3) defense of acquiescence did nor preclude tribe from bringing subproceeding.

Two Shields v. United States
2015 WL 513315
No. 13-90 L
United States Court of Federal Claims.
February 6, 2015.

*Synopsis: Native Americans filed putative class action against United States, claiming Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) breached fiduciary duty to prudently manage their mineral rights held in trust by United States, by allegedly mismanaging their allotments due to "rubber stamping" oil and gas lease agreements with below-market bonuses, failing to secure royalty interest rate
above 18%, and allowing "flipping" or reassignment of leases on allotments without allottee consent or compensation, claiming breach of separate fiduciary duty to disclose to Native Americans that their same Indian reservation was involved in prior breach of trust litigation by class of Native Americans that eventually reached $3.4 billion settlement agreement on claims against government for mismanaging Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts and failing to account for billions of dollars relating to lease of allotments for oil extraction and logging, and finally, claiming that Claims Resolution Act amounted to legislative taking in violation of Fifth Amendment. Government moved for summary judgment, moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and moved to dismiss for failure to state claim.

*Holdings: The Court of Federal Claims, Block, J., held that:
(1) breach of fiduciary duty claim based on alleged mismanagement of allotments was barred by release clause in settlement agreement of prior class action;
(2) jurisdiction was lacking over breach of fiduciary duty claim based on failure to disclose; and
(3) complaint failed to state legislative takings claim.

Rusty Coal Blackwater v. Secretary of Interior
2015 WL 506475
No. 3:14–cv–00244–LRH–VPC
United States District Court, D. Nevada
February 5, 2015.

Legal Topics: Western Shoshone Judgment Roll

January

Brooks v. Roy
2015 WL 327713
No. 14-1301.
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Jan. 27, 2015.

*Synopsis: Native American inmate brought action against state prison official under s1983, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA), and he Minnesota Constitution, alleging that his required chemical-dependency program conflicted with his religious beliefs. The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, Susan Richard Nelson, J., 2014 WL 127024, adopted the opinion of Janie S. Mayeron, United States Magistrate Judge, and dismissed some claims and granted summary judgment to the officials on remaining claims. Inmate appealed.

* Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Kelly, Circuit Judge, held that inmate's complaint did not sufficiently put the officials on notice of the basis for his free exercise claims.
Affirmed.

Rancheria v. Jewell
776 F.3d 706
No. 12-15817.
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted April 8, 2014. Filed Jan. 20, 2015.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe sued Department of Interior (DOI), challenging decision that, pursuant to DOI's regulations, tribe's parcels of undeveloped riverfront lands, located several miles outside tribe's reservation, were ineligible for gaming if DOI took parcels into trust by which parcels would become Indian lands under restored lands exception to general prohibition in Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) against gaming on Indian lands taken into trust after date of IGRA's passage. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Samuel Conti, Senior District Judge, granted summary judgment for DOI. Tribe appealed.

* Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Schroeder, Senior Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) Secretary reasonably implemented restored lands exception;
(2) canon did not apply that statute had to be interpreted liberally in favor of Indians to extent that it was not clear;
(3) Secretary provided sufficient explanation for its alleged change of policy; and
(4) remand was warranted.
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Hayes v. Delbert Services Corp.
2015 WL 269483
Civil Action No. 3:14-cv-258.
United States District Court, E.D. Virginia.
Signed Jan. 21, 2015.

Legal Topics: Loan Agreement; Arbitration

Housing Authority of Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians v. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
85 F.Supp.3d 1213
Case No. 3:08-CV-0626-LRH-VPC
United States District Court, D. Nevada.
Signed Jan. 13, 2015. Filed Jan. 14, 2015.

*Synopsis: Housing authority for Indian tribe commenced action alleging that Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) promulgated funding regulations that violated Native American Housing Assistance and Self–Determination Act (NAHASDA). Parties moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Larry R. Hicks, J., held that:
(1) funding regulations under NAHASDA did not have to be interpreted in manner that favored plaintiff;
(2) NAHASDA block-grant formula was required to be related to the need of all tribal housing entities;
(3) HUD regulation, which disqualified funding for housing units which were no longer owned or operated by a tribal housing entity, was consistent with mandate of NAHASDA, and was not arbitrary or capricious;
(4) post-audit interpretation of regulation was arbitrary and capricious as applied to tribe; and
(5) HUD had authority pursuant to payment by mistake doctrine to recoup funds paid to Indian tribe to operate its housing program without complying with statute's notice and opportunity for hearing requirements.

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma v. Occidental Fire and Casualty Company of North Carolina
2015 WL 154013
Case No. CIV-14-182-KEW.
United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma.
Signed Jan. 13, 2015.

Legal Topics: Sovereign Immunity, Insurance

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