Mealey's Native American Law

  • April 26, 2021

    In Federal Suit, Pueblo Says It Has Jurisdiction Over Casino Slip-And-Fall Case

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A casino patron’s slip-and-fall personal injury suit against a New Mexico Indian tribe belongs in tribal court, not state court, under federal law and the tribe’s gaming compact with the state, the tribe says in an April 23 federal complaint seeking a declaration that a state court erred in finding that it has jurisdiction to hear the dispute.

  • April 20, 2021

    D.C. Circuit Affirms Win For DOI, Rancheria In Suit Over Casino Land Deal

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of the Interior (DOI) “followed all of its statutory and regulatory obligations” when it decided to take land into trust in California so an Indian tribe can build a casino at the site, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held April 16 in affirming summary judgment to the DOI.

  • April 19, 2021

    Federal Government, Alaska Corporations, Tribes Debate CARES Act Text In High Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Whether Congress would have included Alaska Native corporations (ANCs) in last year’s federal COVID-19 relief funding package without intending for them to receive any money meant for Indian tribes was an oft-repeated query during U.S. Supreme Court oral argument April 19 in a case over the ANCs’ entitlement to the tribal funding.

  • April 15, 2021

    Inmate’s Suit Against Tribal Officers For Casino Arrest Dismissed By Federal Judge

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A man who was arrested and charged on suspicion of passing counterfeit money at a tribal casino cannot pursue federal illegal search and seizure claims against the officers who arrested him because tribal police acting under tribal authority cannot be held individually liable for alleged constitutional violations, an Indiana federal judge ruled April 9, dismissing the man’s suit but with leave to amend.

  • April 14, 2021

    California Tribe Faces Class Complaint Over Businesses’ Lending Practices

    RICHMOND, Va. — Two Virginia men filed a class action April 13 against officials of a California Indian tribe seeking to void allegedly usurious loans they received from the tribe’s businesses and hold the officials liable for racketeering and conspiracy.

  • April 14, 2021

    D.C. Circuit Upholds HHS Win In Tribe’s Bid For Extra Health Care Funds

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Washington Indian tribe is not entitled to receive contract support costs from the Department of Health and Human Services for money the tribe collects from insurers for health care services based on the language of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEEA), the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held April 13, affirming judgment in favor of HHS.

  • April 13, 2021

    Widow Of Pastor In Tribal Church Row Sees No Reason For High Court Review

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The lower courts properly relied on the doctrine of ecclesiastical abstention in refusing to decide a church leadership dispute involving the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and doing otherwise would have gone against U.S. Supreme Court precedents, a pastor’s widow says in an April 8 brief in opposition filed at the high court’s request.

  • April 13, 2021

    Federal Government, Alaska Corporations Make Final CARES Act Funding Arguments

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Alaska Native corporations (ANCs) are eligible to be treated as Indian tribes under last year’s federal COVID-19 relief funding measure, and stopping them from receiving $162.3 million set aside for tribal governments “would have devastating consequences for Alaska and its natives,” the U.S. Treasury secretary and ANCs tell the U.S. Supreme Court in April 9 final reply briefs before oral argument.

  • April 12, 2021

    Allotted Indian Parcels Can Be Taxed If Sold To Non-Indians, Federal Judge Rules

    MADISON, Wis. — Indian property that is owned by an Indian is not taxable by Wisconsin and its municipalities, although Indian property that was once sold to a non-Indian is still subject to taxation, even when the property is sold back to an Indian, a federal judge held April 9 in deciding the tax dispute on cross-motions for summary judgment.

  • April 09, 2021

    Biden Administration Halts Sale Of Archives Building To Seek Input From Tribes

    SEATTLE — Due to the change in presidential administrations, a federal executive agency on April 8 withdrew approval of the sale of the national archives building in Seattle so it can discuss the proposal with Native American tribes, dozens of which recently received an injunction in Washington federal court to halt the sale.

  • April 09, 2021

    Group: Agency Violated Law When It Approved Federal Fracking Leases

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — An environmental advocacy group on April 8 sued the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) in District of Columbia federal court, challenging its decision to offer 32 oil and gas leases for hydraulic fracturing in “a culturally rich and sacred landscape in southeastern Utah, without proper study and acknowledgement of the likely harms to historic, cultural, and natural resources.”

  • April 09, 2021

    Judge Stays National Monument Fracking Case, Questions Litigation’s Future

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on March 8 stayed a case brought by environmental groups that sued former President Donald J. Trump for his decision to shrink two national monuments for hydraulic fracturing purposes and ordered the parties to file a status report by June 3 to advise the court whether they intend to continue the litigation.

  • April 07, 2021

    New York Couple Taxed On Income From Seneca Land Seek Supreme Court Review

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings that the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ignored confirm that Congress never meant to allow the federal government to tax income derived from the land of a New York tribe’s aboriginal territory, a couple fighting the federal income tax levied on their gravel-mining income say in a March 31 Supreme Court petition for certiorari.

  • April 07, 2021

    Split 5th Circuit Partly Upholds Constitutionality Of Indian Child Welfare Law

    NEW ORLEANS — A widely divided en banc Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 6 mostly held that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and its implementing rule do not violate the U.S. Constitution while at the same time ruling that parts of the law are unconstitutional.

  • April 07, 2021

    D.C. Circuit Won’t Grant Oregon Farmers’ Request Regarding Tribes’ Water Rights

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The District of Columbia federal appeals court on March 19 said a federal court cannot invalidate a protocol between the federal government and a Native American tribe to take decisions about the tribe’s water rights away from Oregon state officials and give that authority to the federal government.

  • April 07, 2021

    Pueblos Ask Court To Revoke Trump Administration Water Rule Regulations

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Trump administration’s repeal and replacement of the 2015 Clean Water Rule unlawfully took away pollution protection for most of the New Mexico desert arroyos that for years have been “channels for life-giving water in times of rain or snowmelt” for Native Americans, two pueblos say in a March 26 federal court lawsuit seeking to have the new regulations tossed.

  • April 06, 2021

    Judge Orders California To Negotiate With Tribes In Good Faith For Gaming Deals

    FRESNO, Calif. — California has negotiated in bad faith with several Indian tribes on new state gaming compacts, asking for more than is allowed under federal law while not showing that it offered substantial concessions in return, a federal judge held March 31 in awarding the tribes summary judgment.

  • April 05, 2021

    High Court Rejects Cert For Yakama Nation’s Police Jurisdiction Action

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Denial of an injunction request by a Washington Indian tribe seeking to block a city from exercising any criminal jurisdiction on tribal land stands after the U.S. Supreme Court on April 5 denied the tribe’s petition for certiorari.

  • April 02, 2021

    Expanded Discovery Needed For Cherokee Nation Trust Claims, Magistrate Judge Rules

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal magistrate judge on March 31 denied a request by the U.S. government to block discovery by the Cherokee Nation in its quest for an accounting of billions of dollars in assets held in trust by the government, saying the tribe is entitled to the information it seeks and calling the sought-after accounting “long overdue.”

  • April 01, 2021

    10th Circuit Upholds Win For Tribal Business In Worker’s Race Discrimination Action

    DENVER — A former employee of a tribally owned business failed to state a federal race discrimination claim because she did not present sufficient evidence of a hostile work environment or that she was fired because she is Black, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 30 in affirming summary judgment for the business.

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