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.).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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.).
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).
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.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States, a Native American tribe and a hydroelectric company on Oct. 28 all came out in favor of denying U.S. Supreme Court review of a ruling that Oregon and California’s authority to conduct water quality reviews for the federal licensing process for dams was waived by the dam operator’s yearly withdrawals and resubmissions for federal licensing renewal (California Trout, et al. v. Hoopa Valley Tribe, et al., No. 19-257, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 3 dismissed an appeal at the request of the U.S. government of a federal judge’s order directing the Department of the Interior (DOI) to restore federal recognition to a California Indian tribe (Koi Nation of Northern California v. U.S. Department of the Interior, et al., No. 19-5069, D.C. Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 31950).
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 28 denied a request by a member of an unofficial Indian tribe to appeal his 83-year prison sentence for tax fraud, saying the trial court properly denied his application for a writ of habeas corpus (Alan DeAtley v. Dean Williams, et al., No. 19-1322, 10th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 32252).
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 24 rejected petitions for rehearing of a divided decision affirming that South Dakota does not have the authority to impose a use tax on Indian reservation land against casino patrons who are not tribal members but reversing a finding that the state could not condition the renewal of the tribe’s alcoholic beverage licenses on payment of the use tax (Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe v. Kristi Noem, et al., No. 18-1271, 8th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 32013).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M — Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and other federal officials on Oct. 4 filed an answer in New Mexico federal court contending that a Native American tribal group and environmental advocacy groups have not established the requirements for a preliminary injunction to prevent fracking in the Mancos Shale Play because federal law does not provide for a private right of action against federal defendants (Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment, et al. v. David Bernhardt, et al., No. 19-703, D. N.M.).
NEW ORLEANS — Separate petitions for rehearing en banc of a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and its implementing rule do not violate the U.S. Constitution should be denied because the petitioners do not meet the requirements for rehearing, and a partial dissent by one judge does not provide grounds for reconsideration, several Indian tribes argue in an Oct. 23 response in opposition to the petitions (Chad Brackeen, et al. v. David Bernhardt, et al., No. 18-11479, 5th Cir.).
PORT HURON, Mich. — A Michigan Indian tribe filed suit in federal court on Oct. 11 asserting that a financial consultant’s state court breach of contract claims seeking payment for finding investment funding for the tribe’s casino company are barred by tribal sovereign immunity (The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, et al. v. William Cross, Jr., No. 3:19-cv-13006, E.D. Mich.).