Mealey's Native American Law

  • August 12, 2022

    Most Claims By Tribal Members Against Phone Cooperative Survive Dismissal Bid

    GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A Montana federal judge on Aug. 9 dismissed only three of eight claims leveled by Native American members of a telephone cooperative who say the coop is shortchanging them out of millions of dollars in revenue sharing payments and discriminating against them because of their race, letting stand claims for violation of federal and state law.

  • August 11, 2022

    Tribe Loses Challenge To South Dakota Uranium Mine In D.C. Circuit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 9 denied an Indian tribe’s petition for review of a decision by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to grant a power company a source material license to extract uranium from ore beds in South Dakota after finding that the commission “adequately complied with the relevant statutory and regulatory requirements.”

  • August 10, 2022

    9th Circuit Sends Tribe’s Pharmacy Reimbursement Dispute To Arbitration

    PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 9 affirmed a court order compelling arbitration in a dispute among Oklahoma tribal parties and the tribe’s pharmacy benefit manager parties over denied claims for reimbursement for covered medications that pharmacies provided to tribal members, finding that the tribe’s contention that its claims are not arbitrable must be resolved by an arbitrator.

  • August 09, 2022

    Klamath Water Users Ask Court To ‘Dig In’ And Find ESA Is Hurting Water Users

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA or the Klamath Users) on July 29 opposed a summary judgment motion by the United States, a Native American tribe and two fishing plaintiffs and filed a cross-motion for summary judgment asking a California federal court to “dig in” and find that the Bureau of Reclamation’s “adherence” to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is hurting water users in the Klamath River Basin.

  • August 09, 2022

    Federal, Oregon Agencies Oppose Klamath District’s 9th Circuit Mandamus Case

    SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) on Aug. 2 filed oppositions in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to a petition by the Klamath Irrigation District (KID) for a mandamus order to remand the underlying case to a state court adjudicating the federal agency’s operation of the Klamath project.

  • August 09, 2022

    Judge: State Court Is Wrong Venue For Suit Over Fall At Indian Casino

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A state court lacks jurisdiction under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) over a slip-and-fall personal injury suit against a New Mexico Indian tribe for an incident at the tribe’s casino because the fall did not happen during the act of gambling, a federal judge ruled Aug. 5, granting the tribe summary judgment in its declaratory judgment action.

  • August 09, 2022

    Connecticut Judge Dismisses Suit Against Tribal Official Over Loss Of Cell Tower

    NEW LONDON, Conn. — A landowner cannot sue an Indian tribe’s historic preservation official in state court over her review of his property for a proposed cell phone tower because the court lacks jurisdiction due to the tribe’s sovereign immunity and because the dispute has already been litigated in tribal court, a Connecticut judge held Aug. 4.

  • August 09, 2022

    New Mexico Federal Judge: Does State Ruling Bar Navajo Water Project Suit?

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico federal judge on July 29 ordered parties to explain whether a declaratory judgment complaint involving the Navajo Dam and the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project is barred by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling disallowing the use of federal courts to appeal state court appellate rulings.

  • August 05, 2022

    Miccosukee Tribe Sues EPA For Giving CWA Permitting Authority To Florida

    MIAMI — A Florida Native American tribe filed a federal complaint on Aug. 4 challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of having the state issue permits for the discharge of dredged or fill material into certain Florida waters, saying the action weakens the tribe’s sovereignty “by subjecting more than 200,000 acres of Indian lands to the State’s regulatory jurisdiction.”

  • August 05, 2022

    Blue Cross Granted Judgment On False Claim Issue In Tribe’s Health Care Plan Suit

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A Michigan federal judge on Aug. 3 granted partial summary judgment to a health care plan administrator on a claim by a Native American tribe that the administrator violated the Michigan Health Care False Claims Act (HCFCA) by making false claims about the rates it pays for health care.

  • August 04, 2022

    9th Circuit Dismisses Appeal Of Judgment In Washington Tribal Water Rights Case

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 3 dismissed an appeal of a modified tribal water judgment, finding that objectors cannot claim a redressable injury.

  • August 04, 2022

    Child Sex Abuse Conviction, Indian Country Finding Upheld By 8th Circuit

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 3 affirmed the conviction and more than seven-year prison sentence for a man found guilty of abusive sexual contact of a minor, finding in part that there was sufficient evidence to establish that the offense of conviction occurred on Indian land.

  • August 03, 2022

    Judge Bars Idaho Tribe From Shutting Down Lumber Mill Over Lease Dispute

    COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — An Idaho federal judge issued a preliminary injunction July 28 to prevent a Native American tribe from ending a lease agreement with a lumber company and evicting the company from its mill, finding in part that shutting down the mill would harm the company, its employees and the national economy, which has been suffering through a lumber shortage recently.

  • August 03, 2022

    Summary Judgment Is Granted, Denied In Tribe, City Landfill Row

    YAKIMA, Wash. — Competing motions for summary judgment in a dispute over expenses the Yakama Nation says it incurred monitoring contamination at a former municipal landfill were denied Aug. 1 by a federal judge in Washington, less than one month after the judge granted summary judgment that the tribe has Comprehensive Environmental Response, Cost and Liability Act standing.

  • August 02, 2022

    90-Day Injunction Was Proper In Tribe’s Fight Over Geothermal Project, Panel Says

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 1 upheld the denial of injunctive relief longer than 90 days for a Nevada Indian tribe and an environmental group to block construction of a geothermal project on federal public land, saying the tribe and group failed to show that they are likely to succeed on their challenge to the project.

  • August 02, 2022

    Juul Says Tribe Can’t Bring MDL Claims For E-Cigs It Did Not Consume

    SAN FRANCISCO — E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. (JLI) on July 28 moved in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to dismiss a claim against it for violation of the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act (OCPA) brought by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, one of three tribal bellwethers accusing JLI of targeting tribes with illegal and deceptive marketing of e-cigarettes.

  • August 02, 2022

    Pueblo Sues To Recover Rent For Post Office On Tribe’s New Mexico Land

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States has operated a post office on tribal land in New Mexico without a lease since 2016 and now owes the tribe money damages for years of unpaid rent, the tribe says in a July 29 complaint filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

  • August 02, 2022

    Appeal Dismissed, Fees Awarded By 10th Circuit In Tribal Court Exhaustion Row

    DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 29 granted a motion by a technology company to dismiss its appeal in a tribal court exhaustion dispute and then granted a request by the tribe involved to have the company pay its attorney fees for pursuing a frivolous appeal.

  • August 01, 2022

    Oglala Sioux Tribe Sues Government Over Lack Of Adequate Police Staffing

    RAPID CITY, S.D. — The United States is violating two treaties and several federal statutes by not paying enough money to operate an adequate police force on the vast reservation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, where murder and drug crimes are on the rise and 911 calls for help sometimes get little response, the tribe says in a July 26 federal lawsuit against the government.

  • July 29, 2022

    Split 9th Circuit Agrees California Negotiated In Bad Faith For Tribal Gaming Deals

    SAN FRANCISCO — In a divided decision, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 28 affirmed an award of summary judgment to several California Indian tribes because the state negotiated in bad faith with the tribes on new gaming compacts by asking for more than is allowed under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) law while not offering substantial concessions in return.