2018 State Court Cases

Last updated: April 17, 2018
Next update should be ready by: May 1, 2018

Recently Added Cases:

Olson v. North Dakota Department of Transportation
2018 WL 1722354
No. 20170351
Supreme Court of North Dakota.
April 10, 2018

Legal Topics: Criminal Jurisdiction

Mendoza v. Isleta Resort
2018 WL 1725023
NO. A-1-CA-35520
Court of Appeals of New Mexico.
April 9, 2018

Legal Topics: Worker's Compensation


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March

In Matter of L.D.
2018 WL 1478565
DA 17-0419
Supreme Court of Montana.
March 27, 2018

*Synopsis: In child protection proceeding, the District Court, Eighth Judicial District, Cascade County, John A. Kutzman, J., terminated mother's parental rights. Mother appealed.

*Holdings: The Supreme Court, Sandefur, J., held that:
1) Department of Health and Human Services could not passively rely on inaction of Indian tribe to satisfy burden under Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to actively investigate and ultimately make formal inquiry with tribe for conclusive determination of child's tribal membership eligibility, and
2) trial court could not rely on mother's stipulation or acquiescence that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) did not apply to child to satisfy its threshold duty to obtain conclusive determination from Indian tribe of child's tribal eligibility.
Reversed and remanded.

State v. Zack
2018 WL 1192933
No. 34926-8-III
Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 3
March 8, 2018

*Synopsis: Defendant was convicted in the Superior Court, Yakima County, Richard H. Bartheld, J., of assault of law enforcement officer, arising out of assault of jail officer while transporting defendant to hospital on deeded (fee) land within boundaries of reservation. Defendant appealed.

*Holdings: As matter of first impression, the Court of Appeals, Korsmo, J., held that State had jurisdiction to prosecute defendant, who was not enrolled member of tribe, for crime that occurred on fee land within boundaries of reservation.
Affirmed.

 

February

Diego K. v. State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
2018 WL 1023374
No. S-16374
Supreme Court of Alaska
February 23, 2018

*Synopsis: Office of Children's Services (OCS) petitioned for removal of Indian child from parents' custody. The Superior Court, Fourth Judicial District, Bethel, No. 4SM-14-00002 CN, Dwayne W. McConnell, J., ordered child removed from her parents' home. Parents appealed. The Supreme Court remanded for additional findings. Following remand, the Superior Court, McConnell, J., issued ordering clarifying its removal findings. Parents appealed.

*Holdings: The Supreme Court, Carney, J., held that information from status hearings, including unsworn statements made by OCS workers, could not be used by trial court to support its order authorizing removal of Indian child from parents' custody.
Vacated and remanded.

In Interest of L.H.
2018 WL 1008140
No. 17CA0608
Colorado Court of Appeals, Div. A
February 23, 2018

*Synopsis: County department of human services sought to terminate mother's parent-child legal relationship with her child who had possible Indian heritage. The District Court, Jefferson County, No. 15JV650, Ann Gail Meinster, J., determined that Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) did not apply and terminated mother's parental rights. Mother appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals held that trial court was required to notify Indian tribes historically affiliated with tribe mother asserted her biological brother belonged to.
Remanded with instructions.

In re K.R v. E.K.
2018 WL 1004967
E069276
Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 2, California.
February 22, 2018

*Synopsis: Dependency proceeding was initiated by county department of public social services regarding three children. The Superior Court, Riverside County, No. SWJ1600319, Judith C. Clark, J., determined that Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) did not apply and subsequently terminated mother's parental rights to children.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeal, McKinster Acting P.J., held that department failed to demonstrate that it complied with investigatory requirements for determining children's possible Indian heritage.
Conditionally reversed with directions.

Hopi Tribe v. Arizona Snowbowl Resort Limited Partnership
2018 WL 771809
No. 1 CA-CV 16-0521
Court of Appeals of Arizona, Division 1.
February 8, 2018

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought an action against city, alleging public nuisance after city moved forward with sale of reclaimed wastewater to ski resort. City filed a third-party indemnification claim against ski resort. The Superior Court, Coconino County, No. S0300CV201100701, Mark R. Moran, J., denied tribe's motion to amend its complaint to add ski resort as a defendant and to add a claim for injunction against ski resort's artificial snowmaking, and granted ski resort's motion to dismiss. Tribe appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Jones, J., held that tribe sufficiently alleged special injury.
Reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded.

Related News Stories:Attorneys warn Snowbowl they could open the door to a flood of litigation (Payson Roundup) 4/9/18, Hopi suit over ski resort's wastewater snow revived (Courthouse News) 2/8/18

 

January

In re R.H. v. A.N.
2018 WL 636192
No. B282855
Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 6, California.
January 31, 2018

*Synopsis: Human Services Agency (HSA) brought dependency action against mother to terminate her parental rights to Indian child and select adoption as permanent plan. The Superior Court, Ventura County, No. J070951, Tari L. Cody, J., terminated mother's parental rights and found child was adoptable to non-Indian parents notwithstanding placement preferences under Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Mother appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeal, Perren, J., held that:
1) disentitlement doctrine did not preclude appeal;
2) trial court had good cause to depart from ICWA's placement preferences;
3) mother's proffered additional evidence was inadmissible.
Affirmed

In Interest of J.L. and S.M.
2018 WL 549509
No. 17CA0339
Colorado Court of Appeals, Div. A.
January 25, 2018

*Synopsis: County department of human services sought to terminate mother's parental rights to children. The District Court, Alamosa County, No. 15JV114, Martin A. Gonzalez, J., entered order terminating mother's parental rights. Mother appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeals held that department failed to comply with noticerequirements under Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), and thus record on appeal did not support the trial court's finding that ICWA did not apply.

Related News Stories: Colorado Court of Appeals: Written advisement form does not satisfy ICWA notice requirements. (CBA CLE Legal Connection) 2/6/18.

In Matter of IW, MM, Jr., and NK
2017 WL 7048813
115997
Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma, Division No. 2.
January 24, 2018

*Synopsis: State petitioned to terminate parental rights of father of minor children of Native American descent, alleging father, who resided in Kansas, failed to correct conditions which led to minor children's deprived status after he pled no contest to domestic battery for spanking one child who suffered significant bruising. The District Court, Pottawatomie County, Dawson R. Engle, J., terminated father's parental rights. Father appealed, raising issues under state and federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

*Holdings: The Court of Civil Appeals, Jerry L. Goodman, J., held that:
1) expert was qualified to testify regarding placement of minor children, and
2) expert testimony was insufficient to support required finding under ICWA that continued custody of children with father was likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage
Reversed.

In re Elizabeth M.
2018 WL 494747
B284123
Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 7, California.
January 22, 2018

*Synopsis: After amended dependency petition was sustained, the Superior Court, Los Angeles County, No. CK95071, Daniel Zeke Zeidler, J., terminated father's parental rights to two children. Father appealed.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeal, Perluss, P.J., held that:
1) trial court acted within its discretion in denying continuance of permanency hearing;
2) evidence was sufficient to support finding that any interference with children's relationship with their siblings did not outweigh benefits of permanency through adoption, supporting termination of father's rights; and
3)county department of children and family services failed to adequately investigate mother's claim of Indian ancestry, before determining that Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) did not apply to case.
Conditionally affirmed and remanded.

 

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