Mealey's Native American Law

  • January 16, 2020

    Federal Circuit Says Man Has No Federal Claims Over Tribe’s Use Of Lake

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Court of Federal Claims correctly dismissed takings claims by a Washington state resident over the Quinault Indian Nation’s use of a lake in a national park, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided Jan. 10, agreeing that the Claims Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction (Thomas G. Landreth v. United States, No. 19-2260, Fed. Cir.).

  • January 15, 2020

    Judge: Government Violated APA In Banning Re-Petitioning For Tribal Recognition

    TACOMA, Wash. — The Department of the Interior’s 2015 decision to not allow Native American tribes that have been denied federal recognition to re-petition for the status is arbitrary and capricious, in violation of federal law, a Washington state federal judge held Jan. 10 (Chinook Indian Nation, et al. v. David Bernhardt, et al., No. 3:17-cv-5668, W.D. Wash.).

  • January 15, 2020

    Enerplus Win Affirmed Again In Dispute Over Settlement Of Tribal Court Action

    ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 14 upheld an injunction barring a man involved in a long-running dispute with an oil and gas production company from suing the company in tribal court and stopping the tribal court from exercising jurisdiction over the dispute (Enerplus Resources [USA] Corporation v. Wilbur D. Wilkinson, et al., No. 17-3708, 8th Cir.).

  • January 13, 2020

    Judge Refuses To Stay Tribe’s Suit Over Mining Company’s Discharges

    BOISE, Idaho — A federal judge in Idaho on Jan. 8 denied a motion to stay the Nez Perce Tribe’s lawsuit against Midas Gold Corp. and its subsidiaries over allegedly illegal discharges of mining waste, finding that there is no sign that an agreement between the company and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over remediation at the site will be finalized in the next six months (Nez Perce Tribe v. Midas Gold Corp., et al., No. 19-cv-307, D. Idaho, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4707).

  • January 13, 2020

    Wisconsin Tribe Wins Judgment On County’s Zoning Code Enforcement

    MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin county’s enforcement of its zoning laws on fee simple land held by tribal members within the Red Cliff Band Reservation violates federal Indian law, a federal judge held Jan. 9 in awarding the tribe summary judgment (Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians v. Bayfield County, Wisconsin, No. 3:18-cv-828, W.D. Wis., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6054).

  • January 13, 2020

    Certiorari Denied For Non-Indian Who Was Hit With Tribal Protection Order

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari Jan. 13 for a non-Indian woman’s jurisdictional challenge to a tribal court’s issuance of a protection order against her for allegedly stalking her stepson (Joy Spurr v. Melissa Lopez Pope, et al., No. 19-598, U.S. Sup.).

  • January 13, 2020

    National Monuments Cases Against President Trump Valid, Group Says

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on Jan. 9 moved in District of Columbia federal court for partial summary judgment in consolidated lawsuits against the Trump administration concerning the reduction in size of national monuments, which would allow access to land for hydraulic fracturing, contending that there is no genuine issue of disputed material fact and, therefore, all of the plaintiffs in the consolidated actions are entitled to judgment as a matter of law (Hopi Tribe, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2590; Utah Diné Bikéyah, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2605; and Natural Resources Defense Council, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2606, D. D.C. [consolidated]).

  • January 13, 2020

    Justices Pass On Hearing Arbitration Row In Payday Lending Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 13 turned down a request for certiorari in a payday lending dispute involving a Montana Indian tribe over a court’s interpretation of a delegation provision in an arbitration agreement (Sequoia Capital Operations, LLC v. Jessica Gingras, et al., No. 19-331, U.S. Sup.).

  • January 13, 2020

    Tribe’s Gaming Dispute With Texas Will Not Be Heard By High Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — An Indian tribe’s claim that rulings barring it from conducting gaming operations in Texas created an “intolerable” conflict among the circuit courts will not be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied the tribe’s certiorari petition on Jan. 13 (Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas v. Texas, No. 19-403, U.S. Sup.).

  • January 13, 2020

    Washington Tribe Sues State Over Right To Hunt Outside The Reservation

    TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington Indian tribe on Dec. 20 asked a federal court to declare that it is a signatory to an 1855 treaty and that its members still have the treaty-given right to hunt anywhere in the state (Snoqualmie Indian Tribe v. Washington, No. 3:19-cv-06227, W.D. Wash.).

  • January 10, 2020

    Group:  Judgment Valid In Its National Monument Case Against Trump Administration

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Wilderness Society on Jan. 9 moved for partial summary judgment in District of Columbia federal court, contending that there is no genuine issue of disputed material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law in its lawsuit against President Donald J. Trump related to his executive order that reduced the size of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSNM), which the group says was partly motivated by a desire to access land for hydraulic fracturing (The Wilderness Society, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2587, Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2591, D. D.C. [consolidated]).

  • January 10, 2020

    10th Circuit Upholds Ruling That Tribe Cannot Sell Hunting, Fishing Licenses

    DENVER — An unofficial “mixed-blood” Indian tribe does not have the authority to sell hunting and fishing licenses, but the U.S. government is not entitled to a court injunction barring the sales, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Jan. 9 (United States v. Uintah Valley Shoshone Tribe, et al., Nos. 18-4151 and 18-4160, 10th Cir.).

  • January 10, 2020

    Tribes’ Claims Against Trump Over Pipeline Permit Survive Dismissal Bids

    GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A Montana federal judge on Dec. 20 refused to dismiss claims by two Native American tribes that President Trump violated treaties, federal law and the U.S. Constitution by issuing a permit last year allowing work to continue on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline (Rosebud Sioux Tribe, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 4:18-cv-118, D. Mont., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 223887).

  • January 08, 2020

    Church Row Involving Florida Tribe Dismissed Due In Part To Tribal Immunity

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on Jan. 3 tossed a church’s trespass and business interference claims against an Indian tribe after finding that the tribe is shielded from the claims by its sovereign immunity (Eglise Baptiste Bethanie de Ft. Lauderdale, Inc., et al. v. Seminole Tribe of Florida, et al., No. 0:19-cv-62591, S.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 617).

  • January 07, 2020

    Gun Evidence Limited As Sanction In Reservation Police Shooting Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — While the government’s destruction of a handgun amounted to spoliation of evidence in a civil rights case brought by parents of a Ute Tribe member who died during a police chase, awarding the parents default judgment is too severe of a sanction for the spoliation, a federal judge ruled on remand Jan. 6 (Debra Jones, et al. v. United States, No. 1:13-cv-227, Fed. Clms.).

  • January 07, 2020

    Justices Asked To Decide If California Traffic Stop Site Is Part Of Reservation

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court guidance is needed to correct a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals holding that a small section of California land where a Native American tribe says the local police are illegally ticketing and targeting Indian drivers is part of the tribe’s reservation, a county sheriff and deputy sheriff tell the high court in a Dec. 23 petition for certiorari (John McMahon, et al. v. Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, et al., No. 19-820, U.S. Sup.).

  • January 06, 2020

    9th Circuit Says Tribal Members Cannot Organize As Separate Tribe

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal court properly found that 18 Native Americans cannot form a new tribe under the Indian Reorganization Act because they fail to meet the definition of “tribe” and are only a subset of Indians who live on the Pinoleville Rancheria in California, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Dec. 31 (Andrew Allen, et al. v. United States, et al., No. 17-17463, 9th Cir.).

  • December 31, 2019

    Texas, Tribe, Amici Debate Need For High Court Review In Gaming Dispute

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court review of rulings barring an Indian tribe from conducting gaming operations in Texas is needed to resolve the “intolerable” conflict that’s been created among the circuit courts by the rulings, the tribe tells the high court in its Dec. 20 reply brief (Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas v. Texas, No. 19-403, U.S. Sup.).

  • December 31, 2019

    Oregon Court Upholds Rule For Tribes To Allow Use Of Names For School Mascots

    SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Court of Appeals on Dec. 26 upheld a statewide administrative rule banning the use of Native American names for high school mascots unless a tribe agrees to the use of the name (Jennifer K. Walter v. Oregon Board of Education, et al., No. A161646, Ore. App.).

  • December 26, 2019

    Private Company Does Not Owe Tribe For Timber Sales, Federal Judge Rules

    PORTLAND, Ore. — An Indian tribe cannot sue a third-party nontribal business for proceeds from timber taken from the tribe’s reservation because the tribe has already been paid for the timber through its own tribal logging company, which is an arm of the tribe, an Oregon federal judge ruled Dec. 16 in denying the tribe summary judgement (The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon v. Vanport International, Inc., No. 3:17-cv-01649, D. Ore., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 218517).

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