SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A South Dakota federal judge on Sept. 28 awarded the Department of Health and Human Services summary judgment on a woman’s reverse discrimination claims over her employment with the agency’s Indian Health Services (IHS) at a Native American health care facility, saying she failed to make a prima facie case to prove racial discrimination through disparate treatment, hostile work environment, retaliation and constructive discharge.
SPOKANE, Wash. — A Native American-owned tobacco company filed a complaint in Washington federal court on Sept. 28 claiming damages of more than $3.5 million from its former legal counsel for allegedly negotiating behind its back and against its interest with two of its corporate officers to create a new tobacco company.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — After dismissing its first U.S. Supreme Court petition for certiorari challenging the court’s landmark criminal jurisdiction ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma, Oklahoma on Sept. 28 filed letters in 10 other cases seeking to overturn McGirt requesting the court to refer to its arguments in a new petition rather than the dismissed case.
CASPER, Wyo. — The Crow Tribe of Indians is back at the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in its long-running fight for the right to hunt elk off its reservation, saying in a Sept. 27 opening brief that a district court erred in not vacating its judgment that the tribe’s off-reservation treaty hunting rights were extinguished upon Wyoming’s statehood, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the opposite since then.
The so-called Big Three drug distributors — AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp. —on Sept. 18 announced in a press release that they have reached an agreement with the Cherokee Nation to settle the tribe’s opioid litigation for about $75 million paid over 6-1/2 years.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Internal Revenue Service has no authority under two Indian treaties to collect a tax on income earned by a member of the Seneca Nation in New York from a business operating on tribal land, the tribal member says in a Sept. 9 reply brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, urging the court to review the case.
ST. LOUIS — Native Americans’ trespass claims against oil companies over a pipeline that runs across a reservation should be stayed, not dismissed, under the primary jurisdiction doctrine to allow the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to rule on the dispute, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Sept. 13 in reversing and remanding.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Four petitions for writs of certiorari were filed Sept. 3 by various parties challenging a widely divided en banc Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals opinion holding that while the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and its implementing rule do not violate the U.S. Constitution, parts of the law are unconstitutional.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Sept. 17 signed the Confederated Salish and Kootenai-Montana Compact, formally executing the Montana Water Rights Protection Act and improving the tribes’ access to water within the Flathead Reservation, according to an Interior Department press release.
SAN FRANCISCO — A divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 17 reversed a federal court’s denial of a motion to compel arbitration in a payday lending dispute involving tribal entities and remanded for an arbitrator to decide whether the loan documents’ delegation provision is enforceable.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on Sept. 15 dismissed five claims in a Native American tribe’s water rights complaint against the United States and Utah and transferred the remaining claims to a Utah federal court.
SEATTLE — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 7 affirmed that a former employee of a Washington Indian tribe’s health department cannot pursue a wrongful discharge claim against the United States because he failed to show that his employer was acting under an Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) contract when it decided to fire him, leaving the government immune from suit pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal government uses an inapposite court ruling as precedent in an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, so its arguments favoring a grant of certiorari in a long-running dispute over an Indian tribe’s right to conduct gaming in Texas should be rejected, the state argues in a Sept. 3 supplemental brief in response to the government’s brief filed at the request of the court.
RENO, Nev. — A Nevada federal judge on Sept. 3 denied a request by three Native American tribes for a preliminary injunction to halt an archeological survey for a proposed lithium mine after finding that the tribes failed to show that they would suffer “sufficiently specific irreparable harm” if the work was not delayed for tribal consultations.
MARQUETTE, Mich. — A Michigan federal judge on Aug. 26 enjoined Michigan from enforcing its use tax against an Indian tribe and its members for goods or services that are used both on- and off-reservation because it unconstitutionally does not apportion tax based on where the goods are used, as the judge found in a July 13 ruling that separately granted summary judgment in favor of the state on the tribe’s tobacco tax and other claims.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Review of an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that an Indian couple must pay federal income taxes on their per capita distributions from a Florida tribe’s casino is needed because it conflicts with federal law on the government’s relations with Indians, the couple argues in an Aug. 13 U.S. Supreme Court petition for a writ of certiorari.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and its officials cannot get injunctive relief in federal court to halt an Indian tribe’s lawsuit in tribal court over water permit approvals for a pipeline project due to the tribe’s sovereign immunity, a Minnesota federal judge determined Sept. 3 in dismissing the DNR’s action.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oklahoma on Sept. 3 asked the U.S. Supreme Court to dismiss its first petition for a writ of certiorari challenging the court’s landmark criminal jurisdiction ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma, with the state’s attorney general saying in a news release that the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has reinstated the murder conviction in the case that prompted the petition.
OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma man in state prison on drug and weapons charges is not entitled to habeas relief based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma because he is not an Indian and he did not commit a crime against a tribal member, a federal judge held Sept. 1 in denying relief from dismissal of the inmate’s petition.
LUFKIN, Texas — A Texas federal magistrate judge on Aug. 31 declined the state’s request to find an Indian tribe in contempt of a 2002 injunction by operating a bingo hall on its land, finding that gaming like bingo that is regulated by the state is not prohibited for the tribe in the injunction.