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

  • October 1, 2018

    High Court Invites Solicitor General To File Brief On Issue Of Tribal Immunity

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 1 invited the solicitor general of the United States to file a brief to express the views of the United States regarding an Alabama Supreme Court finding that an Indian tribe is not protected by tribal sovereign immunity from tort claims in a car crash negligence suit (Poarch Band of Creek Indians, et al. v. Casey Marie Wilkes, et al., No. 17-1175).

  • October 1, 2018

    Granddaughter Of Black Indian Slave Loses Fight For Accounting In High Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court justices on Oct. 1 said their review is not needed for claims by a descendant of a black slave of a Native American slave owner who seeks an accounting for oil and gas revenues due to black freedmen of former slaveholding Indian tribes (Leatrice Tanner-Brown, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 17-1681, U.S. Sup.).

  • September 28, 2018

    California Injunction Barring Indian Woman’s Cigarette Sales Stays In Place

    SAN FRANCISCO — California cannot obtain injunctive relief under its unfair competition law (UCL) claim against a member of an Indian tribe for selling untaxed cigarettes from her reservation home, but the woman can be enjoined from selling cigarettes in violation of the state’s cigarette fire safety and Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) directory laws, a state appeals panel held Sept. 25 (The People ex rel. Xavier Becerra v. Ardith Huber, No. A144214, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 4th Div., 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 855).

  • September 27, 2018

    Connecticut Federal Suit Over Irreconciled Tobacco Shipments, Threats Tossed

    HARTFORD, Conn. — Allegations of unconstitutionality surrounding a Connecticut law that revokes a license to sell tobacco products when a tobacco manufacturer is unable to reconcile nationwide sales with federal interstate shipping reports were rejected Sept. 26 by a Connecticut federal judge (Grand River Enterprises Six Nations Ltd. v. Kevin B. Sullivan, Commissioner of Revenue Services, No. 16-1087, D. Conn., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165114).

  • September 26, 2018

    Tribe Must Arbitrate Labor Row With Casino Union, 9th Circuit Holds

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal court properly awarded judgment on the pleadings to a labor union in its quest to have an Indian tribe arbitrate a dispute over alleged anti-union activity by the tribe at its casino, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided Sept. 24 (UNITE HERE International Union v. Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Nos. 17-16599 and 17-16600, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27250).

  • September 25, 2018

    8th Circuit Upholds North Dakota’s Requirement Of Street Address To Vote

    ST. LOUIS — North Dakota can again use street addresses to determine voter eligibility for the November general election after a divided Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 24 stayed a federal judge’s injunction barring the address requirement in a case filed by Native Americans (Richard Brakebill, et al. v. Alvin Jaeger, No. 18-1725, 8th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27220).

  • September 24, 2018

    Federal Judge Says More Fees For USDA Deal With Indians Not Justified

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on Sept. 21 declined to award additional attorney fees to Native American farmer plaintiffs who won a $760 million settlement of their bias claims against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, finding that their lawyers were sufficiently compensated by the original $60 million fee award (Marilyn Keepseagle, et al. v. Sonny Perdue, No. 99-3119, D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161497).

  • September 21, 2018

    Judge Keeps Expert, Denies Judgment In Tribal Police Chase Fatal Crash Suit

    PRESCOTT, Ariz. — The United States is not entitled to summary judgment for wrongful death claims involving the death of three family members during a police chase because the surviving family member’s representative presents issues of genuine fact about whether a tribal police officer’s pursuit caused the crash, an Arizona federal judge held Sept. 17 (Kaori Stearney v. United States, No. 16-08060, D. Ariz., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157790).

  • September 21, 2018

    Trump Administration: Tribes’ Request Is An ‘Unnecessary Burden’ On Agencies

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald J. Trump and other federal authorities on Sept. 7 filed a brief in District of Columbia federal court, arguing that the Hopi Tribe and other parties have access to “the full array of public notice and other tools regarding activities on public lands” and their new request for information about mining activity on lands formerly designated as national monuments places “an unnecessary burden” on government agencies (Hopi Tribe, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2590, D. D.C.).

  • September 21, 2018

    Convicted Tribesman Must Exhaust Tribal Remedies, Judge Finds

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A Native American convicted and jailed by his tribe for fraud and larceny must appeal to the tribe before seeking federal habeas relief because he signed a statement of his appeal rights with the tribe, a New Mexico federal judge ruled Sept. 18 in dismissing his petition, but without prejudice (Kenneth Aguilar v. Victor Rodriguez, et al., No. 17-cv-1264, D. N.M., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158655).

  • September 18, 2018

    8th Circuit Vacates Relief To Tribes In Row Over South Dakota Child Services

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — A federal court was wrong to issue declarations and injunctive relief in support of Native American tribes and mothers facing emergency removal of children in South Dakota because it should have abstained and allowed the state courts to adjudicate the claims, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Sept. 14 in a published opinion (Oglala Sioux Tribe, et al. v. Lisa Fleming, et al., Nos. 17-1135, 17-1136, 17-1137, 8th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 26054).

  • September 17, 2018

    9th Circuit Upholds $8.25 Million Award To Tribes For CERCLA Costs

    SEATTLE — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 14 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 26098).

  • September 14, 2018

    Trump Administration: Methane Fracking Appeal ‘Moot’; Rule Will Be Replaced

    DENVER — The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on Sept. 12 filed a brief in the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that a case brought by the state of Wyoming challenging the Methane and Waste Prevention Rule issued by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with regard to hydraulic fracturing operations is “prudentially moot” because it is a challenge to an order that pertains to a regulation that will “imminently be replaced” (Wyoming, et al. v. United States Department of the Interior, et al., 18-8027, 10th Cir.).

  • September 13, 2018

    Interlocutory Appeal OK’d To Decide If Tribes’ Water Rights Were Snuffed By Spain

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico federal judge on Sept. 11 sent the “first impression” question of whether three Native American tribes’ aboriginal water rights were extinguished merely by the imposition of Spanish authority and without any affirmative act to the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to answer (United States, et al. v. Tom Abousleman, et al., No. 6:83-cv-1041, D. N.M., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155413).

  • September 13, 2018

    New York’s Tribal Cigarette Tax Ruling Heads To High Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court intervention is needed to correct a New York appeals court’s decision allowing the state to collect taxes on cigarettes sold on an Indian reservation to nontribal members because the ruling goes against state law and an 1842 treaty, a tribal member with a cigarette sales business tells the high court in a Sept. 4 petition for certiorari (Eric White, et al. v. Barbara D. Underwood, et al., No. 18-297, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 3252).

  • September 12, 2018

    Judge Says Compact Amendment Violates Indian Gaming Regulatory Act

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Sept. 10 shot down on summary judgment a Wisconsin Indian tribe’s attempt to have the federal government approve a gaming compact amendment that would guarantee compensation to the tribe for any lost revenue caused by the opening of another tribe’s nearby casino (Forest County Potawatomi Community v. United States, et al., No. 15-105, D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153333).

  • September 11, 2018

    Tribes Sue To Stop Keystone Pipeline Over Lack Of Impact Studies

    GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Two Native American tribes sued the U.S. government Sept. 10 in Montana federal court to halt construction of a crude oil pipeline across the United States, saying officials approved the project at the direction of President Trump without conducting required environmental and historical studies (Rosebud Sioux Tribe, et al. v. U.S. Department of State, et al., No. 4:18-cv-00118, D. Mont.).

  • September 10, 2018

    Arbitration Spat Over Casino Tax Not Cert Worthy, Oklahoma Tells Justices

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court review is not needed for a ruling vacating an arbitration award in favor of an Oklahoma Indian tribe in a dispute with the state over a drink tax at tribal casinos because the decision is fact-specific and presents no court conflicts, Oklahoma argues in a Sept. 10 response filed at the request of the high court (Citizen Potawatomi Nation v. Oklahoma, No. 17-1624, U.S. Sup.).

  • September 7, 2018

    Unrecognized Tribe Has No Right To Sell Hunting, Fishing Tags, Judge Rules

    SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah federal judge on Sept. 5 issued a declaration that an unofficial “mixed-blood” Indian tribe does not have the authority to sell hunting and fishing licenses but stopped short of granting the U.S. government’s request for a permanent injunction barring the sales (United States v. Uintah Valley Shoshone Tribe, et al., No. 2:17-cv-1140, D. Utah, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151592).

  • September 7, 2018

    Contempt Unproven In Tribes’ Fishing Grounds Row, Federal Judge Rules

    SEATTLE — A Native American tribe cannot have another tribe sanctioned in a fishing rights dispute because it failed to reach the high bar for a finding of civil contempt, a Washington federal judge held Sept. 5 (United States, et al. v. Washington, et al., No. 70-9213, Subproceeding No. 2:17-sp-03, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151249).