2018 Federal Courts Cases

Last updated: April 17, 2018

Next Update Should be Ready by:
May 1, 2018

Recently Added Cases:

Butte County, California v. Chaudhuri
2018 WL 1769130
No. 16-5240
United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit.
April 13, 2018

*Synopsis: County in which parcel of land was located that Indian tribe sought to have taken into trust to operate a casino on brought action against National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) challenging Secretary of Interior's decision to take land into trust. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Scullin, Senior Judge, 197 F.Supp.3d 82, granted summary judgment to NIGC. County appealed.t.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Srinivasan, Circuit Judge, held that:
1) Secretary did not abuse her discretion in reopening administrative record on remand;
2) Secretary's grant of 15-day extension to tribe to submit its response to county's submission of new evidence was not improper;
3) Secretary acted within her authority in setting a 20-day deadline for county to respond to tribe's expert's rebuttal report; and
4) Secretary's determination that members of modern-day tribe were biological descendants of members of pre-1850 tribe was not arbitrary and capricious
Affirmed.

Brakebill v. Jaeger
2018 WL 1612190
No. 1:16-cv-008
United States District Court, D. North Dakota.
April 3, 2018

Legal Topics: Voting Rights


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March

Nipmuc Nation v. Zinke
2018 WL 1570164
No. 14–40013–TSH
United States District Court, D. Massachusetts.
March 30, 2018

Legal Topics: Federal Recognition

Related News Stories: Tribes denied federal recognition see mixed decisions in court system (Indianz) 4/3/18

Burt Lake Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians v. Zinke
2018 WL 1542418
No. 17–0038
United States District Court, District of Columbia.
March 29, 2018

Legal Topics: Federal Recognition

Related News Stories: Tribes denied federal recognition see mixed decisions in court system (Indianz) 4/3/18

United States v. 99,337 Pieces of Counterfeit Native American Jewelry
2018 WL 1568725
No. 16-1304
United States District Court,  D. New Mexico.
March 27, 2018

Legal Topics: Indian Arts and Crafts Act; Conterfeit Jewlery

Texas v. Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo
2018 WL 1474679
EP–17–CV–179–PRM
United States District Court, W.D. Texas, El Paso Division.
March 26, 2018

Legal Topics: Gaming - Authorization

Battle Mountain Band of Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians v. United States Bureau of Land Management
2018 WL 1477628
No. 3:16–cv–0268–LRH–WGC
United States District Court, D. Nevada.
March 23, 2018

Legal Topics: Mining; Traditional Cultural Property

Gibbs v. Rees
2018 WL 1460705
No. 3:17cv386
United States District Court, E.D. Virginia.
March 23, 2018

Legal Topics: Tribal Sovereign Immunity

Kodiak Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. v. Burr
2018 WL 1440602
No. 4:14-cv-085, No. 4:14-cv-087
United States District Court, D. North Dakota.
March 22, 2018

Legal Topics: Jurisdiction

Nguyen v. Gustafson
2018 WL 1413463
No. 18-522
United States District Court, D. Minnesota.
March 21, 2018

Legal Topics: Divorce and Custody

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
2018 WL 1385660
 No. 16–1534
United States District Court, istrict of Columbia.
March 19, 2018

Legal Topics: Oil and Gas Pipelines - Tribal Consultation

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community v. BNSF Railway Company
2018 WL 1336256
No. C15-0543RSL
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Seattle.
March 15, 2018

Legal Topics: Rights-of-Way; Trespass

Perkins v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue
150 T.C. No. 6
No. 28215-14
United States Tax Court.
March 1, 2018

*Synopsis: Married taxpayers petitioned for redetermination of income-tax deficiency arising from disallowance of exemption for income earned from selling gravel mined from land of Seneca Nation of Indians, of which wife was enrolled member. IRS moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The Tax Court, Holmes, J., held that:
1) General Allotment Act of 1887 did not exempt married taxpayers' income from gravel sales;
2) Canandaigua Treaty between federal government and Seneca Nation did not create income-tax exemption for individual member of Seneca Nation, at least insofar as income was not derived from land allotted to such member;
3) taxpayers were liable for additions to tax for failure to timely file returns;
4) IRS failed to meet its burden of production with respect to taxpayers' liability for accuracy-related penalties; and
5) in opinion by Lauber and Pugh, JJ., federal government's Treaty with the Seneca conferred rights on Seneca Nation of Indians, not its constituent members, and it covered only taxes imposed by State of New York.
Motion granted in part and denied in part.

Related News Stories: Indian tribes and income taxes (Norton Rose Fulbright) 4/10/15

 

February

Chissoe v. Zinke
2018 WL 919917
No. 16-5172
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.
February 16, 2018

Legal Topics: Land Ownership

Citizen Potawatomi Nation v. State of Oklahoma
881 F.3d 1226
No. 16-6224
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
February 6, 2018

*Synopsis: Native American nation brought action against state of Oklahoma, seeking to enforce arbitration award obtained in connection with dispute under tribal-state gaming compact. The United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, Robin J. Cauthron, J., 2016 WL 3461538, entered order enforcing award. State appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Murphy, Circuit Judge, held that:
1) de novo review provision of binding arbitration clause in tribal-state gaming compact was legally invalid, and
2) district court erred in failing to sever binding arbitration clause from tribal-state gaming compact.
Remanded with instructions to vacate arbitration award.

Stand Up for California! v. United States Department of Interior
2018 WL 1092448
No. 1:17–cv–00058
United States District Court, District of Columbia.
February 28, 2018

*Synopsis: Nonprofit organization and individuals brought action challenging decision of the United States Department of the Interior, its Secretary of the Interior and Acting Assistant Secretary–Indian Affairs in their official capacities, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to acquire land in trust for tribe, alleging that actions taken by Department employees in lieu of Assistant Secretary–Indian Affairs, a vacant office at the time, violated department regulations and the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA). Parties cross-moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Trevor N. McFadden, J., held that:
1) Secretary of Interior and Assistant Secretary–Indian Affairs could delegate non-exclusive authority to make final decision to acquire land in trust for Indian tribe, and
2) non-exclusive authority of the Assistant Secretary–Indian Affairs to make final decision to acquire land in trust for Indian tribe was properly delegated to Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and did not violate FVRA.
Ordered accordingly.

Cayuga Nation v. Zinke
2018 WL 1036365
No. 17–cv–1923
United States District Court, District of Columbia.
February 23, 2018

*Synopsis: Faction within federally recognized Indian nation brought action challenging decisions by Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Interior Department's Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs that recognized rival faction as nation's governing body for purposes of certain contractual relationships between nation and United States. Rival faction moved to intervene.

*Holdings: The District Court, Colleen Kollar–Kotelly, J., held that:
1) rival faction had standing to intervene, and
2) rival faction was entitled to intervene as of right.
Motion granted.

State of Texas v. Alabama Coushatta Tribe of Texas
2018 WL 731516
NO. 9:01-CV-299
United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Lufkin Division.
February 6, 2018

*Synopsis: Indian Tribe brought action against State of Texas and state officials, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief under Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama-Coushatta Indian Tribes of Texas Restoration Act and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) to allow Tribe to govern gaming activities on Tribal lands. Texas filed competing motion for injunctive relief. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, John Hannah, Jr., 208 F.Supp.2d 670, granted Texas a permanent injunction enjoining Tribe from operating casino. After Tribe notified Texas of its intent to open Class II gaming facility, State moved to hold Tribe in contempt and moved for declaration finding that IGRA did not apply to Tribe, Tribe moved for relief from judgment ordering permanent injunction, and both parties moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Keith F. Giblin, United States Magistrate Judge, held that:
1) National Indian Gaming Commission's (NIGC) letter to Indian Tribe advising that Tribe's lands were eligible for gaming was not entitled to Chevron deference, and
2) Restoration Act, which applied State of Texas's gaming laws to Indian Tribe in Texas, applied to Tribe's action, rather than IGRA.
Ordered accordingly.

 

January

Pro-Football, Inc. v. Blackhorse
709 Fed.Appx. 182
No. 15-1874
United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.
January 18, 2018

Legal Topics: Trademarks

Stand Up For California! v. United States Department of the Interior
879 F.3d 1177
No. 16-5327
United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit.
January 12, 2018

*Synopsis: Community groups and Indian tribe with competing casino brought action challenging Department of Interior's decision to take a tract of land into trust for Indian tribe and authorize it to operate a casino there. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Beryl A. Howell, Chief Judge, 204 F.Supp.3d 212, granted partial summary judgment to Department and dismissed remaining claims. Plaintiffs appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Tatel, Circuit Judge, held that:
1) Indian tribe constituted a “recognized Indian tribe” at time that Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) was passed;
2) substantial evidence supported Department's conclusion that Indian tribe, as it currently existed, could trace its roots to Indians who lived on tribe's reservation at time that IRA was passed;
3) court would defer to Department's reasonable interpretation of provision of Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) that required an Indian casino to not be a detriment to the surrounding community;
4) substantial evidence supported Department's determination that permitting Indian tribe to operate a casino on its newly acquired lands would not be detrimental to the surrounding community; and
5) relevant date for Department's analysis of whether proposed casino would comply with Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements was when the Department initially made its determination, rather than when it reissued its determination on remand.
Affirmed.

Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation v. Lawrence
2018 WL 637395
No. 2:16–cv–00579
United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division.
January 31, 2018

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action against state judge and non-Indian independent contractor, seeking temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction preventing state court from trying breach-of-contract claims.

*Holdings: The District Court, Clark Waddoups, J., held that:
1) District Court would decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law contract dispute;
2) doctrine of Younger abstention supported District Court's decision to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction; and
3) Anti-Injunction Act supported District Court's decision to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction.
Matter stayed pending resolution in state court.

Yurok Tribe v. Resighnini Rancheria
2018 WL 550233
No. 16-cv-02471 RMI
United States District Court, N.D. California, Eureka Division.
January 25, 2018

Legal Topics: Fishing Rigts; Tribal Sovereign Immunity

Buchwald Capital Advisors v. Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
2018 WL 508471
No. 16-cv-13643
United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division.
January 23, 2018

Legal Topics: Tribal Sovereign Immunity

Ak-Chin Indian Community v. Central Arizona Water Conservation District
2018 WL 397233
No. CV-17-00918-PHX-DGC
United States District Court, D. Arizona.
January 12, 2018

Legal Topics: Tribal Water Rights; Sovereign Immunity

Cobb v. Morris
2018 WL 842406
NO. 2:14-CV-22
United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division.
January 11, 2018

Legal Topics: Civil Rights of Prisoners

Bishop Paiute Tribe v. Inyo County
2018 WL 347797
No. 1:15-cv-00367-DAD-JLT
United States District Court, E.D. California.
January 10, 2018

Legal Topics: Tribal Jurisdiction

McKesson Corporation v. Hembree
2018 WL 340042
No. 17-CV-323-TCK-FHM
United States District Court,  N.D. Oklahoma.
January 9, 2018

Legal Topics: Tribal Jurisdiction; Opioids

 

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