Mealey's Native American Law

  • November 21, 2019

    Cert Sought In Jurisdiction Row Over Tribe’s Protection Order Against Outsider

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A non-Indian woman who was slapped with a tribal civil protection order for allegedly stalking her stepson took her fight against tribal court jurisdiction to the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 5, arguing that she never had sufficient contacts with the tribe for its court to take jurisdiction over her (Joy Spurr v. Melissa Lopez Pope, et al., No. 19-598, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 6320).

  • November 19, 2019

    Judge Orders Attorney To Pay Part Of Tribal Defendants Fees For ‘Reckless’ Conduct

    SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on Nov. 15 sanctioned an attorney for continuing to prosecute fraud claims against tribal health clinic officials even after discovery turned up no evidence to support the claims, directing him to pay a percentage of the officials’ attorney fees (United States, ex rel. Raju Dahlstrom v. Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe of Washington, et al., No. 2:16-cv-52, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198624).

  • November 18, 2019

    Indian Prisoner Raises Jurisdiction Challenge Based On Location Of Crimes

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A member of the Cherokee Nation sentenced to 30 years in state prison on multiple drug-dealing convictions reiterates in an Oct. 25 U.S. Supreme Court reply brief that his petition for certiorari should be granted because a search of his home in Indian country violated federal law (Patrick Joseph Terry v. Oklahoma, No. 18-8801, U.S. Sup.).

  • November 15, 2019

    Federal Circuit:  Tribal Water Rights Didn’t Result In ‘Taking’ Farmers’ Water

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 14 affirmed a Federal Claims Court ruling that federally reserved tribal water rights and compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) did not result in the unconstitutional taking of water from Oregon and California farmers in 2001 when irrigation water deliveries were halted (Lonny E. Baley, et al. v. United States, et al., No. 18-1323 and 18-1325, Fed. Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 33930).

  • November 15, 2019

    Fishing Groups Plead For High Court Review Of Clean Water Act Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The nation’s water quality will suffer drastically if states waive their authority under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to issue water quality certificates for dams awaiting federal license renewal whenever requests for certification are not fulfilled in a year, as a federal circuit court ruled, two fishing groups argue in a Nov. 6 reply in support of their U.S. Supreme Court petition (California Trout, et al. v. Hoopa Valley Tribe, et al., No. 19-257, U.S. Sup.).

  • November 13, 2019

    10th Circuit Will Not Revisit Ruling Allowing U.S. To Take Land Into Trust

    DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 8 declined to revisit its reversal of an injunction barring the Department of the Interior (DOI) from taking 76 acres of land within the historic Cherokee Nation reservation into trust for a Cherokee band (The Cherokee Nation v. David Bernhardt, et al., No. 17-7042, 10th Cir.).

  • November 13, 2019

    Magistrate Judge Allows 2 Tribes To Intervene In Water Suit, File Dismissal Motion

    MEDFORD, Ore. — An Oregon federal magistrate judge on Nov. 6 granted a motion by two native American tribes to intervene in two lawsuits involving U.S. Bureau of Reclamation changes to the Klamath water project for the limited purpose of filing a motion to dismiss the cases (Klamath Irrigation District, et al. v. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, et al., Nos. 19-451 and 19-531, D. Ore., Medford Div., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192741).

  • November 12, 2019

    Fiduciary Duty Claims Head Back To Tribal Court After Denial Of Cert

    SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 12 denied certiorari for a former tribal administrator’s challenge to the jurisdiction of the tribal courts to decide the tribe’s fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims against her (Duanna Knighton v. Cedarville Rancheria of Northern Paiute Indians, et al., No. 19-131, U.S. Sup.).

  • November 11, 2019

    Awards To New York State, City For UPS Violations Cut By 2nd Circuit

    NEW YORK — A majority of a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 7 affirmed that United Parcel Service Inc. illegally shipped untaxed cigarettes from Native American smoke shops in New York but reduced the damages awarded to the state and New York City by $149 million (New York, et al. v. United Parcel Service, Inc., Nos. 17-1993, 17-2107 and 17-2111, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 33308).

  • November 08, 2019

    2nd Circuit Expands New York’s Victory Against Tribal Tobacco Company

    NEW YORK — A panel of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 7 reversed partial summary judgment rulings for a Washington state tribal tobacco company and against New York in the state’s efforts to stop the company from shipping untaxed cigarettes to reservation smoke shops in New York (New York v. Mountain Tobacco Company, et al., Nos. 17-3198 and 17-3222, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 33306).

  • November 08, 2019

    Full 5th Circuit To Rehear Constitutional Challenges To Child Welfare Law

    NEW ORLEANS — On its own motion, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 7 ordered rehearing by the entire court for claims by states and adoptive parents that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) violates the U.S. Constitution, as a trial court held (Chad Brackeen, et al. v. David Bernhardt, et al., No. 18-11479, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 33335).

  • November 07, 2019

    Ute Tribe Gets Mixed Results In Suit Over Ownership Of Reservation Land

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge on Nov. 4 dismissed breach of trust claims leveled against the United States by a Utah Indian tribe but declined to rule on other claims until it can be decided whether the tribe holds title to all the land on its reservation (Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation v. United States, et al., No. 1:18-cv-357, Fed. Claims, 2019 U.S. Claims LEXIS 1634).

  • November 06, 2019

    Former Tribal Clinic Worker Ordered To Take Job Claims To Tribal Court

    GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A former employee of an Indian health clinic must have his gender bias and retaliation claims against the clinic decided in tribal court, a Montana federal magistrate judge ruled Nov. 4 in granting a motion to dismiss (Ronald J. Walker v. Jessica Windy Boy, et al., No. 4:19-cv-43, D. Mont., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191980).

  • November 06, 2019

    Tribal Members Awarded Fees For 9th Circuit Win In Traffic Stop Row

    PASADENA, Calif. — Members of a California tribe who said local police were illegally ticketing and targeting Indian drivers on land that is part of the tribe’s reservation are entitled to have their attorney fees paid by a county sheriff for succeeding on their claims in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the appeals court ruled Nov. 4 (Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, et al. v. John McMahon, et al., No. 17-56791, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 32949).

  • November 05, 2019

    Judge Rejects Former Tribal Worker’s Remaining Wrongful Discharge Claim

    SEATTLE — A former employee of a Washington Indian tribe cannot pursue a wrongful discharge claim against the United States because the tribe was not acting under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) when it decided to fire him, leaving the government immune from suit pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), a federal judge held Nov. 4 in granting the government summary judgment (Raju T. Dahlstrom v. United States, et al., No. 2:16-cv-01874, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190942).

  • November 05, 2019

    2 Classes Of New Jersey Residents Approved In Suit Against Loan Companies

    NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on Oct. 31 certified two classes of payday loan borrowers in a class action alleging fraud and racketeering claims against lending companies associated with a Native American tribe (John S. MacDonald, et al. v. CashCall, Inc., et al., No. 16-2781, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188971).

  • November 04, 2019

    9th Circuit Sends ANILCA Case Back To District Court As Directed By Supreme Court

    SAN FRANCISCO — As directed by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 1 reversed and remanded a case to the trial court to enter judgment for a hunter that Alaska’s Nation River is not public land under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) and is exempt from the usual regulatory authority of the National Park Service (NPS) (John Sturgeon v. Bert Frost, et al., No. 13-36165, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 32742).

  • November 01, 2019

    Immunity Shields Tribe From Casino Patron’s ADA Claims, Judge Says

    PHOENIX — A visitor to an Arizona Indian casino cannot pursue claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that casino workers caused her to suffer a panic attack when they told her to remove her service dog from the premises because the tribe that runs the casino is protected by sovereign immunity, a federal judge ruled Oct. 31 (Nadia Drake v. Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, No. 19-cv-02957, D. Ariz.).

  • November 01, 2019

    Father In State Juvenile Court Case Fails To Plead Indian Child Welfare Claims

    MILWAUKEE — A Wisconsin federal judge on Oct. 30 dismissed a father’s claims against a state juvenile court judge and prosecutor for failure to state a claim for his allegations that the state court proceeding belongs in tribal court under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) (Kevin Michael Boon-Bey, et al. v. Audrey Skwierawski, et al., No. 19-cv-985, E.D. Wis., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187812).

  • October 31, 2019

    New York Appeals Court Rejects Cayuga Nation’s Tribal Leadership Action

    ALBANY, N.Y. — In a divided decision, the New York Court of Appeals on Oct. 29 declined to rule on a tribal leadership dispute among members of the Cayuga Nation, with the majority holding that the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear the case based on the tribe’s sovereign immunity (Cayuga Nation v. Samuel Campbell, et al., No. 70, N.Y. App.).