TACOMA, Wash. — Tribal-related payday lenders cannot force a customer to arbitrate her unlawful usury class claims because the arbitration provision in their loan contract waives a party’s right to pursue federal statutory remedies, making the provision “invalid and unenforceable,” a Washington federal judge decided Oct. 18 (Teresa Titus v. ZestFinance, Inc., et al., No. 18-5373, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179380).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico federal judge on Oct. 3 granted a motion by the United States to compel a native American tribe to produce documents that the tribe claims are subject to the “legislative process privilege” (Pueblo of Jemez v. United States, No. 12-0800, D. N.M., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171747).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A medical officer candidate at an Indian hospital failed to show that he was fired because he is Native American or that the reasons for his firing were merely pretext for racial discrimination, a New Mexico federal judge held Oct. 15 in awarding summary judgment to the candidate’s employer (Calbert Lee v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, No. 16-366, D. N.M., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176719).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two Native American tribes in New York asked the U.S. Supreme Court Oct. 9 to grant certiorari to decide how the New York Indian Law applies to the state’s attempt to collect taxes on cigarettes sold on an Indian reservation to nontribal members (Eric White, et al. v. Barbara D. Underwood, et al., No. 18-297, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation on Oct. 15 filed a brief in District of Columbia federal court arguing that a hydraulic fracturing company and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) should not be permitted to transfer a fracking permit dispute to North Dakota because the tribe’s preference for venue is “entitled to substantial deference” (Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara Nation v. The United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 18-1462, D. D.C.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 15 denied a petition for rehearing en banc filed by parents of Native American children whose parental rights have been terminated and whose class claims challenging the legality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) were deemed moot in a recent Ninth Circuit decision (Carol Coghlan Carter, et al. v. John Tahsuda, et al., No. 17-15839, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 28964).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 15 denied certiorari for a ruling vacating an arbitration award in favor of an Oklahoma Indian tribe in a dispute with the state over a casino drink tax on the ground that a gaming compact’s arbitration section is unenforceable (Citizen Potawatomi Nation v. Oklahoma, No. 17-1624, U.S. Sup.).
EUREKA, Calif. — A California Indian tribe sued the U.S. government Oct. 10 in federal court to protect a threatened salmon species that has always been “the mainstay of the life and culture of the Tribe” (Hoopa Valley Tribe v. Wilbur Ross, et al., No. 1:18-cv-06191, N.D. Calif.).
FORT WORTH, Texas — Four Native American tribes on Oct. 10 sought a stay of a Texas federal judge’s recent finding that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) violates the U.S. Constitution, saying they will probably succeed in overturning the ruling on appeal (Chad Brackeen, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 4:17-cv-00868, N.D. Texas).
SEATTLE — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 2 ordered the state of Washington and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation to respond to Teck Cominco Metals Ltd.’s Sept. 28 motion for a panel rehearing and request for en banc hearing of a Sept. 14 decision that affirmed a federal court’s finding that the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation are entitled to recover more than $8.25 million in response costs from a polluter of the Columbia River for enforcement actions taken under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (Joseph A. Pakootas, et al. v. Teck Cominco Metals, Ltd., No. 16-35742, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27942).
SEATTLE — A patron of an Indian casino whose vehicle was confiscated by the tribe after marijuana was found inside must first present his conversion claims against a tribal officer and a towing company to the tribal court based on comity, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided Oct. 9 (Curtiss Wilson v. Horton’s Towing, et al., No. 16-35320, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 28430).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 9 let stand a divided Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision allowing North Dakota to require street addresses to determine voter eligibility for the November general election, a practice that had been barred for the primary election by a federal court as being discriminatory against Native Americans and others (Richard Brakebill, et al. v. Alvin Jaeger, No. 18A335, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A motion by the United States to participate in U.S. Supreme Court oral argument in a dispute over whether an 1855 Indian treaty protects a tribe in Washington state from paying state taxes on gasoline it hauls to a reservation was granted Oct. 9 by the high court (Washington State Department of Licensing v. Cougar Den, Inc., No. 16-1498, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court justices announced Oct. 9 that they will allow Alaska to participate in oral arguments in a dispute over the extent of control the federal government has over land and water in Alaska national parks under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) (John Sturgeon v. Bert Frost, et al., No. 17-949, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 9 allowed the U.S. solicitor general to participate in oral arguments in a dispute over the size of a Native American reservation in Oklahoma and whether a murder occurred in “Indian country,” but did not rule on a request by the tribe in question to also argue its case before the justices (Mike Carpenter v. Patrick Dwayne Murphy, No. 17-1107, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Oct. 3 refused to vacate orders transferring seven cases related to the alleged marketing and distribution of opiate drugs to multidistrict litigation in Ohio, holding that the cases were factually related and involved common questions (In re National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL No. 2804, J.P.M.L., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170489).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump administration on Oct. 1 filed a brief in District of Columbia federal court contending that groups opposing the reduction in size of two national monuments have filed their lawsuits prematurely and the cases themselves “suffer multiple, incurable defects” (Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2591, D. D.C., The Wilderness Society, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2587, D. D.C. [consolidated]).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari on Oct. 1 for a California county’s challenge to the federal government’s taking of land for an Indian tribe’s planned casino (Amador County, California v. United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 17-1432, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A dispute among Washington state Indian tribes over the right to hunt whales and seals on their traditional hunting grounds in the Pacific Ocean will not be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied certiorari on Oct. 1 (Makah Indian Tribe, et al. v. Quileute Indian Tribe, et al., No. 17-1592, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two rulings by different federal appeals courts about the repayment of federal housing money to Indian tribes will not be subject to U.S. Supreme Court review; the justices on Oct. 1 denied two petitions for certiorari filed by tribes and their housing agencies (Fort Peck Housing Authority, et al. v. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, et al., No. 17-1353, Lummi Tribe of the Lummi Reservation, et al. v. United States, No. 17-1419, U.S. Sup.).