Mealey's Native American Law

  • November 21, 2017

    Agency: Rehearing En Banc For Fracking Decision By 10th Circuit ‘Not Necessary’

    DENVER — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on Nov. 20 filed a brief in the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that “it is not necessary” to grant rehearing en banc of the court’s decision vacating a district court’s ruling that the agency exceeded its authority when it promulgated new regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing on federal lands because the BLM “expects to publish a new rule as soon as possible” after the rule is reviewed by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) (State of Wyoming, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 16-8068, 10th Cir.).

  • November 21, 2017

    Martha’s Vineyard Tribe Urges Justices To Deny Challenges To Bingo Hall

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — With Massachusetts legalizing casino gaming and the resulting development of large Las Vegas-style casinos that will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual tax revenue, the question of whether a bingo operation with a few hundred machines should be allowed on tribal land on Martha’s Vineyard is not important enough for U.S. Supreme Court review, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) tells the high court in a Nov. 6 response brief (Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. The Wampanoag Tribe Of Gay Head [Aquinnah], et al., No. 17-215, Town of Aquinnah, Massachusetts, et al. v. The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head [Aquinnah], et al., No. 17-216, 2017 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 4283).

  • November 20, 2017

    Issue Of Subsistence Hunting In National Forest Decided Long Ago, Wyoming Argues

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided 22 years ago that Indians do not have the right under an 1868 treaty to subsistence hunt in Wyoming’s Bighorn National Forest, so the U.S. Supreme Court need not take up the question at the request of a member of the Crow Tribe of Indians who was charged with illegally killing an elk in the national forest, the state of Wyoming says in a Nov. 9 response brief (Clayvin B. Herrera v. State of Wyoming, No. 17-532, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 4406).

  • November 20, 2017

    Law Firm Seeks Review Of Sovereign Immunity For Tort Claims Against Tribe

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court is again asked to define the reach of the tribal sovereign immunity doctrine in a petition for a writ of certiorari filed Nov. 7 by a law firm seeking to pursue fraud and racketeering claims against a Florida tribe in state court (Lewis Tein, P.L., et al. v. Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, No. 17-702, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 4393).

  • November 17, 2017

    Arizona Appeals Court Upholds Dismissal Of Contract Row Over Tribe’s Theme Park

    PHOENIX — An Arizona court properly dismissed a suit based on tribal sovereign immunity in a contract dispute between tribal members and a company that developed and manages a Western-themed tourist park on the tribe’s reservation, a state appeals court held Nov. 14 in affirming the trial court’s ruling (WD at the Canyon, LLC, et al. v. Waylon Honga, et al., No. 1 CA-CV 16-0468, Ariz. App., Div. 1, 2017 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1715).

  • November 17, 2017

    Reconsideration Bid Denied After Agreement Reached, Election Scheduled

    SEATTLE — With an election planned next month in which all Nooksack Tribe members can vote to fill four vacant council seats, a Washington federal judge on Nov. 14 refused to reconsider his dismissal of “holdover” council members’ suit to force the U.S. government to resume health and education funding (The Nooksack Indian Tribe v. Ryan K. Zinke, et al., No. 17-0219, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188398).

  • November 15, 2017

    8th Circuit Affirms Denial Of Injunction Against Excessive Force By Police

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — In a per curiam decision, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 14 upheld the denial of an injunction sought by Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protestors to enjoin law enforcement officers from using certain anti-riot tactics at pipeline protests (Vanessa Dundon, et al. v. Kyle Kirchmeier, et al., No. 17-1306, 8th Cir.).

  • November 15, 2017

    Judge: Tribe’s Health Care Plan Doesn’t Improperly Shift Costs To Government

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — An Indian tribe’s self-insured health plan excluding coverage for services where government benefits provide for lower costs does not violate the payer of last resort provision enacted by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a federal judge in the District of Columbia held Nov. 7 in remanding a case to an agency for reconsideration (Redding Rancheria v. Eric D. Hargan, et al., No. 14-2035, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184061).

  • November 13, 2017

    Agency: Consumer Protection Act Allows Investigation Of Tribes’ Payday Businesses

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “plainly” has jurisdiction to issue investigative demands to three tribal payday lending companies under the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, so U.S. Supreme Court review of the companies’ challenge to the demands is not warranted, the bureau argues in a Nov. 6 response brief (Great Plains Lending, LLC, et al. v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, No. 17-184, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 4307).

  • November 9, 2017

    Tribe Sues County, Says Arrest Of Tribal Member On Reservation Was Unlawful

    YAKIMA, Wash. — A Washington county wrongfully arrested a minor member of a Native American tribe on statutory rape charges for alleged crimes that occurred within the boundaries of the tribe’s reservation, the tribe says in a federal lawsuit against the county that the tribe announced Nov. 6 in a news release (Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation v. Klickitat County, et al., No. 1:17-cv-03192, E.D. Wash.).

  • November 8, 2017

    California Tribe Seeks Reversal Of BIA’s Denial Of Recognition, Services

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Tolowa Nation in California sued the United States on Nov. 7 in federal court, seeking to overturn the government’s denial of the tribe’s application for federal recognition (Tolowa Nation v. United States, et al., No. 3:17-cv-6478, N.D. Calif.).

  • November 8, 2017

    Nevada Federal Judge Needs Payment Amounts To OK Land Dispute Settlement

    RENO, Nev. — A Nevada federal judge on Nov. 3 deferred ruling on a proposed settlement in a dispute over the leasing of Indian trust land pending submission of the amounts to be paid to the landowner under the settlement for in camera review (Leon Mark Kizer v. PTP, Inc., et al., No. 3:15-cv-00120, D. Nev., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182591).

  • November 8, 2017

    Attorneys General: Agency’s Delay Of Waste Rule ‘Devoid Of Legal Justification’

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The attorneys general for the states of California and New Mexico on Nov. 6 sent a joint letter to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) opposing the agency’s proposal to delay and suspend certain requirements of the final rule governing the prevention of waste from oil and gas operations on federal and Indian lands because the rule “provides a commonsense and much-needed update to BLM’s rules governing the waste of natural gas and royalty payments from mineral leases administered by” the agency.

  • November 8, 2017

    Crow Creek Tribe Appeals Dismissal Of Water Takings Claim Against United States

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A South Dakota Native American tribe on Oct. 10 filed an opening brief in a federal appeals court arguing that it should reinstate the tribe’s claims that the United States took its reserved federal water rights (Crow Creek Sioux Tribe v. United States, No. 17-2340, Fed. Cir.).

  • November 8, 2017

    Federal Claims Judge Stops Class Certification In Klamath Water Takings Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal claims court judge on Oct. 23 instructed parties in a federal takings case to stop work on the class certification process after she entered judgment for the United States (Lonny E. Baley, et al. v. United States, No. 01-591, Fed. Clms.).

  • November 7, 2017

    Neighbor, United States, Tribe Debate Whether Casino Law Violates Separation Of Powers

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congress violated its constitutional power to define the jurisdiction of federal courts with a statute barring any federal lawsuit relating to a Native American casino property because it “dictated the outcome of the case without changing the law,” an attorney for a neighboring property owner challenging the casino told the U.S. Supreme Court justices on Nov. 7 (David Patchak v. Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior, et al., No. 16-498, U.S. Sup.).

  • November 7, 2017

    Enerplus Handed Victory In Dispute Over Settlement Of Tribal Court Action

    BISMARCK, N.D. — A North Dakota federal judge on Nov. 2 permanently enjoined a man involved in a long-running dispute with an oil and gas production company from suing the company in tribal court over a 2010 settlement and ordered the man to pay the company’s attorney fees related to its federal court action (Enerplus Resources (USA) Corporation v. Wilbur D. Wilkinson, et al., No. 1:16-cv-103, D. N.D., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181579).

  • November 7, 2017

    Indian Tribe, Trade Groups Seek Rehearing En Banc Of 10th Circuit Fracking Ruling

    DENVER — An Indian tribe and members of an oil and gas industry trade association on Nov. 6 each filed separate petitions in the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, seeking rehearing en banc of a split panel’s earlier decision that vacated a district court’s ruling that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management exceeded its authority when it promulgated new regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing on federal lands (State of Wyoming, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 16-8068, 10th Cir.).

  • November 6, 2017

    Tribe, United States Oppose High Court Review Of Groundwater Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A California Native American tribe and the United States on Oct. 13 urged the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand a Ninth Circuit ruling that the tribe has a federally reserved right to groundwater under its reservation (Coachella Valley Water District, et al. v. Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, et al., No. 17-40, Desert Water Agency, et al. v. Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, et al., No. 17-42, U.S. Sup.)

  • November 3, 2017

    U.S. Supreme Court To Weigh Appeal Of Native American Tribal Groundwater Rights

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A petition by two California water districts asking the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve whether a Native American tribe has reserved rights to groundwater under its reservation was distributed Nov. 1 for the high court’s Nov. 21 conference, according to a docket entry (Coachella Valley Water District, et al. v. Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, et al., Nos. 17-40 and 17-42, U.S. Sup.).