2020 State Court Cases

Last updated: October 28, 2020

Next update should be ready by: November 4, 2020

Recently Added Cases:

Hotch v. Chilkat Indian Village
2020 WL 6158088
Supreme Court No. S-17498
Supreme Court of Alaska.
October 21, 2020

Legal Topics: Cultural Property; Artifacts

Matter of M.T.
2020 WL 6144713
No. DA 20-0075
Supreme Court of Montana.
October 20, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act

Older Cases:

December

 

November

 

October

Jackson E. v. State of Alaska
2020 WL 5946630
Supreme Court No. S-17655
Supreme Court of Alaska.
October 7, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act

September

Matter of Dependency of Z.J.G.
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 5241275
No. 98003-9
Supreme Court of Washington.
September 3, 2020

Legal Topics: ICWA

August

United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria v. Newsom
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 5103639
S238544
Supreme Court of California.
August 31, 2020

Legal Topics: IGRA

Samish Indian Nation v. Department of Licensing
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 5105074
No. 79733-6-I
Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 1.
August 31, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Taxation

 

Irv's Boomin' Fireworks, LLC v. Muhar
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 4932787
No. A20-0029
Court of Appeals of Minnesota.
August 24, 2020

Legal Topics: Jurisdiction; Public Law 280

 

In the Matter of: E.J.B., R.S.B.
2020 WL 4726567
No. 217A19
Supreme Court of North Carolina.
August 14, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act

In Re Internet Lending Cases
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 4745994
No. A156573
Court of Appeal, First District, Division 3, California.
August 17, 2020

Legal Topics: Tribal Sovereign Immunity

 

Julio A. v. State of Alaska
2020 WL 4497830
No. S-17603
Supreme Court of Alaska.
August 5, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act

Klein v. Wisconsin Department of Revenue
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 4589367
No. 2018AP1133
Court of Appeals of Wisconsin.
August 11, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Taxation; Tribal Sovereign Immunity

July

In the Matter of the Adoption of B.B.
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 4345817
No. 20180612
Supreme Court of Utah.
July 28, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act

 

In the Matter of April S.
2020 WL 4249431
Supreme Court No. S-17544
Supreme Court of Alaska.
July 24, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act

McCormick, Inc. v. Fredericks
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 4199698
No. 20190254
Supreme Court of North Dakota.
July 22, 2020

Legal Topics: Jurisdiction; Contract Breach

 

Treat v. Stitt
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 4185827
Case No. 118829
Supreme Court of Oklahoma.
July 21, 2020

Legal Topics: Tribal Gaming Compacts

Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation v. Yakima County
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 3580006
No. 97910-3
Supreme Court of Washington.
July 2, 2020

*Synopsis: Objector brought land use petition under Land Use Petition Act (LUPA) against county and permit applicant, arising out of issuance of conditional use permit for expansion of applicant's mining operations. The Superior Court, Yakima County, No. 18-2-01517-0, Gayle M. Harthcock, J., denied applicant's motion to dismiss. Applicant and county appealed. The Court of Appeals, 2019 WL 5566358, reversed. Objector sought review, which was granted.

*Holdings: The Supreme Court, Madsen, J., held that county's land use decision was made by written decision rather than by resolution of legislative body sitting in a quasi-judicial capacity, and thus, under LUPA, period for objector to bring land use petition challenging issuance of conditional use permit for project began three days after decision was mailed.
Reversed and remanded.

June

Kalima v. State of Hawai'i
2020 WL 3530566
No. SCAP-18-0000068
Supreme Court of Hawai'i.
June 30, 2020

Legal Topics: Hawaiian Home Lands Trust

Lavallie v. Jay
2020 WL 3496040
No. 20190402
Supreme Court of North Dakota.
June 29, 2020

Legal Topics: Jurisdiction; Personal Injury

Hopi Tribe v. Arizona Snowbowl Resort Limited Partnership
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 3526664
No. 1 CA-CV 16-0521
Court of Appeals of Arizona, Division 1.
June 30, 2020

Legal Topics: Cultural Resources; Attorney Fees

 

New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency v. K.LB. and C.J.
2020 WL 3277049
Nos. A-5214-17T1; A-5215-17T1
Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.
June 18, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act

 

May

People In Interest of K.C.
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 2759686
No. 19CA1682
Colorado Court of Appeals, Division III.
May 28, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act; Tribal Membership

Pamela J. v. Department of Child Safety, T.C., J.C., Navajo Nation
2020 WL 2569919
No. 1 CA-JV 19-0384
Court of Appeals of Arizona, Division 1.
May 21, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act

Robbins v. Mason County Title Insurance Company
2020 WL 2212437
No. 96726-1
Supreme Court of Washington.
May 7, 2020

*Synopsis: Insureds brought action against title insurer alleging breach of duty to defend when Indian tribe asserted its treaty right to harvest shellfish from insureds' tidelands. The Superior Court, Mason County No. 16-2-00686-1, Toni A Sheldon, J., granted summary judgment in favor of insurer. Insureds appealed. The Court of Appeals, 5 Wash.App.2d 68, 425 P.3d 885, reversed and remanded. Insurer petitioned for review, which was granted.

*Holdings: The Supreme Court, en banc, Wiggins, J. held that:
1) tribe's letter to insureds asserting its right to harvest shellfish was a demand letter triggering insurer's duty to defend;
2) tribe's asserted right to harvest shellfish fell within definition of a "profit";
3) insurer had a duty to defend;
4) insurer breached its duty to defend in bad faith; and
5) insureds' request for attorney fees before resolution of insurer's affirmative defenses on remand was premature.
Judgment of Court of Appeals affirmed and remanded.

In re M.W.
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 3034156
No. CO89997
Court of Appeal, Third District, California.
May 7, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act

April

Cora G. v. State of Alaska
2020 WL 1969400
Nos. S-17254/17272 (Consolidated)
Supreme Court of Alaska.
April 24, 2020

*Synopsis: A child in need of aid (CINA) proceeding was brought seeking to terminate mother and father's parental rights. The Superior Court, Third Judicial District, Seward, Charles T. Huguelet, J., terminated rights in a judge-tried case. Mother and father appealed, and appeals were consolidated.

*Holdings: The Supreme Court, Winfree, J., held that:
1) As a matter of first impression, an expert witness as to a child's mental injury must be offered and affirmatively accepted as qualified expert in a judge-tried CINA proceeding;
2) Trial court's error in failing to qualify State's witness as an expert witness on child's mental injury was not harmless; and
3) Clear and convincing evidence did not support finding that conduct by or conditions created by parent resulted in mental injury to child.
Vacated and remanded.


In Re Interest of A.K.
2020 WL 1919560
No. A-19-969
Court of Appeals of Nebraska.
April 21, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act

Tom v. Baker
2020 WL 1903850
No. 78150
Supreme Court of Nevada.
April 16, 2020

Legal Topics: Tribal Jurisdiction

In Re Austin J. v. Erica G.
2020 WL 1872524
No. B299564
Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 1, California.
April 15, 2020

*Synopsis: Mother appealed from decision of the Superior Court, Los Angeles County, No. 19LJJP00303, Pete R. Navarro, Juvenile Court Referee, finding children to be dependent, removing children from parents, and placing them in custody of Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), with directions to place them in foster care.

*Holdings: The Court of Appeal, Rothschild, Presiding Justice, held that:
1) Because there was no pending dependency case in North Carolina when California case began, California court had subject matter jurisdiction when Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) filed its dependency petition;
2) Mother failed to show that trial court erred in failing to ensure that notice of proceedings was provided to Indian tribe in accordance with Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA);
3) Trial court did not comply with its duties of inquiry and notice under ICWA with respect to father's side of the family;
4) Social worker’s declarations and trial court’s in–court inquiries provided substantial evidence that DCFS and the court satisfied their initial duties of inquiry regarding father’s children; and
5) Mother’s statement that she might have Indian ancestry, and the similar statement by mother’s aunt, were insufficient to support a reason to believe that children were Indian children, as defined in ICWA.
Affirmed.

In re the Petition of M.G.
2020 WL 1802804
No. 19CA0806
Colorado Court of Appeals, Divison IV.
April 9, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act

March

Peidlow v. Williams
2020 WL 1316358
Nos. S-16804/16893 (Consolidated)
Supreme Court of Alaska.
March 20, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act

Bear v. Mid-Central Educational Cooperative
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 1291459
Nos. 28740, 28741, 28746, 28747, 28748, 28753
Supreme Court of South Dakota.
March 18, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Education

 

In the Matter of K.G.
2020 WL 1264004
No. COA19-424
Court of Appeals of North Carolina.
March 17, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act

 

In the Matter of T.J. II
2020 WL 1042206
No. A171753
Court of Appeals of Oregon.
March 4, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act

 

February

State of North Carolina v. Nobles
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 967439
No. 34PA14-2
Supreme Court of North Carolina.
February 28, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Major Crimes Act, Jurisdiction

The People of Colorado in the Interest of K.R. and S.R., and Concerning T.K.D.
2020 WL 939240
No. 18CA2258
Colorado Court of Appeals, Division A.
February 27, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act


Addy S. v. State of Alaska
2020 WL 915975
No. S-17427
Supreme Court of Alaska.
February 26, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act

Hwal'Bay Ba J Enterprises, Inc. v. Jantzen
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 891158
No. CV-19-0123-PR
Supreme Court of Arizona.
February 25, 2020

Legal Topics: Sovereign Immunity

Cowlitz Tribal Gaming Authority v. Clark County Sheriff's Office
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 901456
No. 52826-6-II
Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 2.
February 25, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Gaming

 

In re Guardianship of Eliza W.
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 594097
No. S-18-1141
Supreme Court of Nebraska.
February 7, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act

Herpel v. County of Riverside
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 614894
No. E070618
Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 2, California.
February 10, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Tax Regulations

 

January

In the Interest of Y.J.
Lower Court Ruling
No. 20-0081
Supreme Court of Texas.
Cert petition filed on January 30, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act


Ohio History Connection v. The Moundbuilders Country Club Company
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 489189
No. 2019 CA 00039
Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Licking County.
January 29, 2020

Legal Topics: Cultural Resources; Sacred Sites



In the Matter of the Parental Rights to D.J.S.
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 425062
No. 36423-2-III
Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 3.
January 28, 2020

*Synopsis: Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) filed petition to terminate parental rights of father, who was enrolled member of Indian tribe, to child. Following trial, trial court ordered termination of parental rights. On father's appeal, DSHS agreed to remand case for second trial for failure to notify tribal nation of proceedings. Following new trial, the Superior Court, Chelan County, No. 17-7-70024-2, Tracy S. Brandt, J., ordered termination of parental rights. Father appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Fearing, J., held that:
1) DSHS failed to afford parent with all ordered and necessary services,
2) Offer of parenting services concurrent with substance abuse treatment would have been futile;
3) DSHS failed to make active efforts to prevent breakup of Indian family;
4) Remand was necessary to determine whether active efforts to prevent breakup of Indian family would have been futile;
5) Sufficient evidence supported finding that continuing relationship between father and child would impede child's welfare, and
6) Sufficient evidence supported finding that father's custody of child would result in serious emotional or phyiscal harm to child.
Reversed and remanded with instructions.

 

Gustafson v. Poitra
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 373052
No. 20190230
Supreme Court of North Dakota.
January 23, 2020

*Synopsis: After quieting title to property, which was non-Indian fee land located within Indian reservation, property owner filed an eviction action against claimants. The District Court, Rolette County, Northeast Judicial District, Anthony Swain Benson, J., granted the eviction. Claimant appealed.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, Crothers, J., held that claimants failed to establsih that the district court lacked jurisdiction or has been divested of jurisdiction to adjudicate an action for eviction regarding property. Affirmed.

 

Mendoza v. Isleta Resort and Casino
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 241008
No. S-1-SC-37034
Supreme Court of New Mexico.
January 16, 2020

Legal Topics: Tribal Sovereign Immunity

State of Minnesota v. Thompson
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 218405
No. A18-0545
Supreme Court of Minnesota.
January 15, 2020

*Synopsis: Defendant was convicted in the District Court, Beltrami County, John G. Melbye, J., of first-degree driving while impaired (DWI), which allegedly occurred on Indian reservation. Defendant appealed. The Court of Appeals, 929 N.W.2d 21, affirmed. Defendant petitioned for review, which was granted.

*Holding: The Supreme Court, Thissen, J., held that tribal police officer was authorized to detain and remove defendant from reservation.
Affirmed.

State of New Mexico v. Salazar
Materials via Turtle Talk
2020 WL 239879
No. A-1-CA-36206
Court of Appeals of New Mexico.
January 15, 2020

Legal Topics: Criminal Jurisdiction

 

The People in the Interest of S.B.
2020 WL 34683
No. 19CA0198
Colorado Court of Appeals, Division IV.
January 2, 2020

Legal Topics: Indian Child Welfare Act

 

Search the State Courts Indian Law Bulletins:

Basic Search Help
Operators and More Search Help

Cases are organized by month :

January  | February  |  March  |  April  |  May  |  June  |  July  |  August  |  September  |  October  |  November  |  December


Find past years' cases from the bulletins archive.

Indian Law Bulletins are a current awareness service of the National Indian Law Library. The purpose of the Indian Law Bulletins is to provide succinct and timely information about new developments in Indian Law. See the "about" page for each bulletin for specific information on monitoring, content selection criteria, and timeliness of publication.

Learn more about the State Courts bulletin.


A note about links used in this document:

Blue links are to information available free on the Internet. Green links are to information available on Westlaw, for the convenience of those who have a Westlaw account. The library is not affiliated with Westlaw.

* Synopsis and holding provided under an agreement with Westlaw.