We use cookies on this site to enable your digital experience. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our cookie policy. close

Mealey's Native American Law

  • November 27, 2018

    7th Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of Whistleblower’s Suit Against Tribal Officials

    CHICAGO — The National Defense Authorization Act blocks a woman’s claim that she was fired from her job with an Indian housing authority in retaliation for reporting that her co-workers misappropriated a grant because the grant was awarded before the statute took effect, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 26 (Dawn Marie Delebreau v. Cristina Danforth, et al., No. 18-2332, 7th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 33131).

  • November 26, 2018

    9th Circuit: Native Americans’ Property Row Belongs In Tribal Court

    SAN FRANCISCO — Seven members of a California Indian tribe are barred from seeking habeas relief in federal court in a dispute over property rights because they have not yet exhausted remedies available from the tribe, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals determined Nov. 21 (Ronald Napoles, et al. v. Destin Rogers, et al., No. 17-16620, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 32978).

  • November 20, 2018

    Tribes Seek 5th Circuit Stay Of Finding That ICWA Is Unconstitutional

    NEW ORLEANS — Four Native American tribes on Nov. 19 asked the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to stay a Texas federal judge’s recent finding that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) violates the U.S. Constitution, seeking to preserve the status quo pending their appeal (Chad Brackeen, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 18-11479, 5th Cir).

  • November 20, 2018

    Tribal Court Proper Forum For Blackfeet Indians’ Water Compact Claims, Judge Holds

    GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Blackfeet tribal members challenging a water compact among the tribe, Montana and the United States must take their fight to the tribe’s court, a federal judge decided Nov. 16 in finding no jurisdiction over the dispute (Enrolled Members of the Blackfeet Tribe, et al. v. Thedus Crowe, et al., No. 4:15-cv-92, D. Mont., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195939).

  • November 19, 2018

    President Lacks Authority To Reduce Size Of National Monuments, Groups Say

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Environmental groups and several Native American tribes on Nov. 15 filed briefs in District of Columbia federal court, arguing that they have standing to oppose the Trump administration’s decision to reduce the size of two national monuments, and they argue that the president lacks the authority in the first place (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]).

  • November 19, 2018

    United States Seeks To Argue For Tribe’s Treaty Right To Hunt

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The solicitor general on Nov. 15 sought leave to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court in support of an Indian tribe’s right to hunt under an 1868 treaty in Wyoming’s Bighorn National Forest, saying neither Wyoming’s statehood nor the creation of Bighorn trumped the tribe’s treaty right (Clayvin B. Herrera v. Wyoming, No. 17-532, U.S. Sup.).

  • November 16, 2018

    Tribe’s Immunity Blocks Condemnation Of Land For Pipeline, 10th Circuit Affirms

    DENVER — A natural gas company cannot condemn a piece of land in Oklahoma for a pipeline easement because a Native American tribe has an undivided ownership interest in the property, making it tribal land protected by sovereign immunity, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals determined Nov. 15 (Enable Oklahoma Intrastate Transmission, LLC v. 25 Foot Wide Easement, et al., No. 17-6188, 10th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 32367).

  • November 16, 2018

    Tribe, Drugmaker Heading To Supreme Court After Bids For Rehearing, Stay Denied

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Native American tribe and a drug company are taking their fight to use the tribe’s sovereign immunity to shield it from inter partes review (IPR) of patents to the U.S. Supreme Court, though the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 13 said it will not stay its opinion affirming the ruling while a certiorari petition runs its course (Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, et al. v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., Nos. 2018-1638, -1639, -1640, -1641, -1642, -1643, Fed. Cir.).

  • November 13, 2018

    Indian’s Federal Sentence For Tribal Officer’s Assault Upheld By Judge

    RAPID CITY, S.D. — A federal judge in South Dakota on Nov. 8 declined to shorten federal prison time for an Indian who assaulted a tribal police officer, finding that his petition for a writ of habeas corpus is barred by statute and by the primary jurisdiction doctrine (United States v. Dwight Thunder Shield, No. 17-cr-50066, D. S.D., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191100).

  • November 12, 2018

    $21.1 Million Deal Reached Over Misdiagnosis That Left Woman A Quadruple Amputee

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A woman reached a $21.1 million settlement with the federal government in litigation alleging that health care providers at a Native American medical facility in Alaska misdiagnosed her cellulitis and sepsis as shingles.  The lack of appropriate medical care led to the partial amputation of all four of her limbs, the plaintiff’s firm said in a statement on Oct. 23 (Mardi Strong v. United States, No. 13-00165, D. Alaska).

  • November 12, 2018

    9th Circuit Won’t Revisit Ruling That Tribe’s Bingo Violates Internet Gaming Law

    SAN FRANCISCO — After seeking opinions from the United States and California on an Indian tribe’s request to rehear a finding that its online bingo operation is illegal, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 7 denied the request, leaving unanswered a legal question of first impression the tribe presented in its rehearing petition (California, et al. v. Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, et al., No. 17-55150, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 31580).

  • November 12, 2018

    9th Circuit Denies Petition For Rehearing In Tribe’s Suit For VA Funding

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 8 declined to rehear its decision that the Veterans’ Judicial Review Act (VJRA) bars an Arizona Indian tribe from suing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for veterans health care funding (Gila River Indian Community, et al. v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, et al., No. 17-15629, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 31790).

  • November 9, 2018

    Judge Halts Pipeline Work, Says Climate Change Stance Reversal Needs Explaining

    GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A Montana federal judge on Nov. 8 shut down the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and told the U.S. Department of State to provide a “reasoned explanation” why it approved a permit for the pipeline in 2017 while ignoring findings from two years earlier when the permit was denied because of global warming (Indigenous Environmental Network, et al. v. U.S. Department of State, et al., No. 17-cv-29, D. Mont., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191510).

  • November 8, 2018

    Tribal Council Wins Judgment In Suit For More Substance Abuse Funding

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — An Alaskan tribal council won its four-year battle with the federal government Nov. 7 when a District of Columbia federal judge awarded the council summary judgment in its bid for more funding to operate substance abuse programs for Native Alaskans (Cook Inlet Tribal Council v. Christopher Mandregan, Jr., et. al., No. 14-cv-1835, D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190469).

  • November 7, 2018

    Tribe Dismissed From Prisoner’s Suit Seeking Habeas Relief

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico federal judge on Nov. 5 adopted a magistrate judge’s findings by adding a new tribal governor to a prisoner’s writ of habeas corpus action and dismissing the tribe from the dispute (Daniel E. Coriz v. Victor Rodriguez, et al., No. 17-1258, D. N.M., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188874).

  • November 7, 2018

    9th Circuit Dismisses Navajo Human Remains Case Over Dissent Of Judge

    SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals judge’s request to vacate a prior ruling that she didn’t agree with in the Navajo Nation’s attempt to have the federal government return 303 sets of human remains was denied Nov. 6 by a panel majority (Navajo Nation v. U.S. Department of the Interior, et al., No. 13-15710, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 31361).

  • November 6, 2018

    Federal, State Requirements Met In Dependency Trial For 3 Children, Panel Finds

    SEATTLE — Neither the federal nor the Washington state Indian child welfare law applied in a dependency hearing for three allegedly abused children because they do not meet the definition of Indian children under the laws, a state appeals court held Nov. 5 (In re Dependency of G.B., et al. v. C.F., Nos. 77311-9-I, 77312-7-I and 77313-5-I, Wash. App., Div. 1, 2018 Wash. App. LEXIS 2519).

  • November 5, 2018

    Control Over Alaska National Park Waters Argued Before Justices

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The question of whether the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) exempts nonpublic waterways within Alaska national parks from federal regulation was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court Nov. 5 (John Sturgeon v. Bert Frost, et al., No. 17-949, U.S. Sup.).

  • November 5, 2018

    Tribal Members Take Battle Over RICO Claims Against Leaders To 9th Circuit

    SEATTLE — A Washington federal court wrongly dismissed a suit filed by members of the Nooksack Indian Tribe over tribal leaders’ attempt to disenroll hundreds of members from the tribe because their racketeering claims belong in federal court, not a tribal court, the plaintiff members tell the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in their Oct. 23 opening brief (Margretty Rabang, et al. v. Robert Kelly, Jr., et al., No. 18-35711, 9th Cir.).

  • November 2, 2018

    Judge Scuttles Last-Ditch Try By Indians To Block North Dakota’s Voter ID Law

    BISMARCK, N.D. — While North Dakota’s voter ID law has caused a “litany of problems” for Native Americans trying to vote in the upcoming midterm election, it is too late in the game to change the rules and risk “further confusion and chaos on the eve of an election,” a federal judge ruled Nov. 1 in denying a tribe’s request for a restraining order (Spirit Lake Tribe, et al. v. Alvin Jaeger, No. 1:18-cv-00222, D. N.D., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186993).