Mealey's Native American Law

  • July 14, 2022

    Company’s Fraud, RICO Claims Against Tribe’s Council Barred By Immunity, Judge Says

    BISMARCK, N.D. — Although the intratribal dispute doctrine does not apply to protect an Indian tribe’s business council from fraud and racketeering claims leveled by a tribal member’s company that entered into a joint venture with the council to produce aggregates and ready-mix products for sale, the claims are still barred by tribal sovereign immunity, a North Dakota federal judge determined July 11 in granting the council’s motion to dismiss.

  • July 13, 2022

    Split In Authority On Tribal Court Exhaustion Deserves Review, Petitioner Says

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A business development contractor’s long-running breach of contract dispute with a Utah Indian tribe “squarely presents” an “acknowledged split on tribal [court] exhaustion,” warranting U.S. Supreme Court review, the contractor says in a June 28 reply brief in support of his bid for certiorari.

  • July 12, 2022

    Court Dismisses Tribe’s Water Case Saying 38-Year Stay Serves No Purpose

    PHOENIX — An Arizona federal judge on June 7 dismissed without prejudice a 43-year-old case by a Native American tribe against Arizona, saying that after a 38-year stay to allow for a water adjudication in Arizona, it serves no purpose to keep the federal case open.

  • July 12, 2022

    Crow Tribe Members Sue Interior Department Over Water Rights Settlement Act

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Six members of the Crow tribe on June 21 sued the U.S. Department of the Interior, alleging that the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2010 improperly seeks to take their water rights without due process or just compensation.

  • July 12, 2022

    North Dakota Tribes’ Suit Against Voting Redistricting Law Can Proceed, Judge Says

    FARGO, N.D. — Two Indian tribes and three Native American voters have standing to challenge North Dakota’s redrawn legislative districts, and subject matter jurisdiction exists because Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) can be enforced privately through a civil rights cause of action, a federal judge held July 7 in denying the state’s bid to dismiss the action.

  • July 12, 2022

    United States, Tribe Waive Responses To Cert Petition In Indian Land Row

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Neither the federal government nor a Native American tribe will respond to a U.S. Supreme Court petition for certiorari in a dispute over a recreational vehicle park on Indian trust land prompted by the park members being ejected from the land due to an expired lease, according to July 6 waivers filed by the respondents.

  • July 11, 2022

    Tribal Immunity Blocks ADA Violation Claims Over Tribe’s Gas Station/Store

    FRESNO, Calif. — A California federal judge on July 7 dismissed a man’s suit alleging that an Indian tribe’s gas station and convenience store is difficult to access for disabled people, finding that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims are barred by the tribe’s sovereign immunity.

  • July 01, 2022

    Supreme Court Grants Cert, Vacates, Remands 11 Criminal Cases In Oklahoma

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Eleven petitions for certiorari from Oklahoma asking the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit its 2020 Indian reservation ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma were granted June 30, with the high court vacating the state criminal appeals court judgments that the petitions were based on and remanding for further consideration in light of the justices’ ruling that day in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta, another criminal jurisdiction case.

  • June 30, 2022

    Tribal Chairman’s Bid For Federal Recognition By District Court Fails Again

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A tribal chairman cannot have a federal court compel the Department of the Interior (DOI) to extend federal recognition to his tribe because he failed to comply with the administrative process to apply to the government for recognition, a District of Columbia federal judge ruled June 28 in granting the DOI’s motion to dismiss the chairman’s lawsuit.

  • June 29, 2022

    Washington High Court To Review Tribe’s Eviction Case Against Disenrolled Members

    OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Supreme Court on June 23 agreed to review a county court’s denial of a preliminary injunction sought by 10 formerly enrolled members of an Indian tribe to block efforts to evict them from rented tribal housing after finding that the lower court “may have committed reviewable error as to some potentially dispositive issues.”

  • June 29, 2022

    New Jersey Sues Ford For Hazardous Substance Dumping At Former Landfill

    HACKENSACK, N.J. — New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, its commissioner and the administrator of the New Jersey Spill Compensation Fund (collectively DEP) on June 16 sued Ford Motor Co. in state court for allegedly discharging paint sludge and other toxic substances at a former mining site and current state park that the company used as a landfill for one of its manufacturing sites in the 1960s but never adequately cleaned up or fully disclosed.

  • June 29, 2022

    Oklahoma Settles Opioid Cases Against 3 Drug Distributors For $250 Million

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma attorney general’s office on June 27 announced that three major drug distributors have agreed to settle the state’s opioid claims against them for $250 million.

  • June 29, 2022

    Court Gives Oklahoma Win In Post-McGirt Indian Crime Jurisdiction Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal government and states have concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed by non-Indians against Indians in Indian country, the U.S. Supreme Court held June 29 in a 5-4 opinion in favor of Oklahoma, which was on the losing end of the court’s landmark criminal jurisdiction ruling two years ago in McGirt v. Oklahoma.

  • June 28, 2022

    Judge Enjoins Salmon Seasons On Refuge In Native Subsistence Fishing Row

    JUNEAU, Alaska — A federal judge in Alaska on June 23 halted the state’s summer salmon gillnet fishing seasons on the Kuskokwim River within the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge at the request of the United States, which says the seasons violate the rural subsistence fishing priority of Native Alaskans established by Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).

  • June 27, 2022

    Land Deal, Copper Mine Not ‘Substantial Burden’ On Apaches, 9th Circuit Says

    SAN FRANCISCO — A tribal group is not entitled to an injunction blocking a federal government land swap for development of a copper mine on sacred Apache land in Arizona because the mine will not be a “substantial burden” on the tribe’s religious freedoms, a divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held June 24 in affirming.

  • June 27, 2022

    More Amici Seek To Have Indian Child Welfare Act Overturned By High Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A nonprofit Indian child welfare group in North Dakota and 13 former Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) children or parents of ICWA children recently joined the growing ranks of amici curiae voicing opposition to the federal statute in four consolidated U.S. Supreme Court cases, saying in a June 2 brief that the law unconstitutionally “allows Indian children to be used as the pawns or weapons of tribal authorities or dissatisfied family members” and should be overturned.

  • June 27, 2022

    Wisconsin Tribe’s Loan Operation Levels Theft Claims Against Business Partners

    MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin Indian tribe’s payday lending business on June 22 sued several non-Indians and their companies in federal court accusing them of embezzling and stealing tribal funds during their partnership with the tribe in running the loan businesses.

  • June 24, 2022

    Federal Judge Grants Summary Judgment On Contaminated Water Trespass Claims

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A federal judge in New Mexico on June 14 granted a government contractor’s motion for partial summary judgment, dismissing property owners’ trespass claims because their property did not adjoin the Animas or San Juan rivers when the waterways were contaminated by acid mine drainage and heavy metals that entered the water from an upstream mine.

  • June 21, 2022

    Review Of Tribal Court Exhaustion Row Rejected By Supreme Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 21 denied certiorari for a dispute involving a Washington Native American tribe over exhausting tribal court remedies before seeking habeas corpus relief in a federal court for a tribal court arrest warrant.

  • June 21, 2022

    Supreme Court Will Not Review Immunity Ruling For Tribal Court Judge, Employees

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that tribal court officials are entitled to absolute judicial or quasi-judicial immunity for a businessman’s malicious prosecution action stands after the U.S. Supreme Court on June 21 denied the businessman’s request for certiorari.

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