Mealey's Native American Law

  • April 27, 2022

    Minnesota High Court Grants Tribe, Enviro Petitions In Permit Row

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Supreme Court on April 19 announced that it will review a recent appellate court ruling that rejected allegations that a permit issued to a precious metals mine is not sufficiently protective of state and tribal water quality.

  • April 27, 2022

    Nationwide Settlement Proposed In Payday Lending Suit Against Tribal Entities

    RICHMOND, Va. — Four tribal payday loan businesses and their non-Indian officers have agreed to pay more than $39 million and cancel approximately $450 million in outstanding loans to settle class action usury and racketeering claims, the plaintiff borrowers in the suit say in an April 25 motion in Virginia federal court for preliminary approval of the deal for a settlement class of more than 500,000 members.

  • April 26, 2022

    Federal Judge Denies Remand Of Irrigation District’s Suit Seeking Injunction

    MEDFORD, Ore. — An Oregon federal judge on April 25 denied a motion by the Klamath Irrigation District (KID) to remand the district’s lawsuit seeking an injunction preventing the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from releasing water from the Upper Klamath Lake except to provide irrigation under state law water rights.

  • April 26, 2022

    6th Circuit Gives Michigan Tribe Another Win In ERISA Plan Dispute

    CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 25 again ruled in favor of a Michigan Indian tribe in its effort to have its insurer pay Medicare-like rates (MLR) for certain hospital services under a health care plan for tribal members, finding that the trial court erred in interpreting the federal regulations governing the program.

  • April 26, 2022

    Tribes Support Review Of County Tax On Lessees Of California Tribe’s Land

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court review is needed for a California appeals court’s ruling allowing a county to impose a possessory interest tax on lessees of land set aside for a Native American tribe because “only tribal governments have the power to tax non-Indians on privileges derived from tribal lands,” several tribes argue in an April 21 amicus curiae brief.

  • April 26, 2022

    California Appeals Court: Water Bottling Permit Based On Bad Environmental Report

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California appeals court on April 20 ordered a trial court to grant a petition for a writ of mandamus and ruled that Siskiyou County must revise a water bottling permit to broaden the permit’s objectives, revise its alternatives analysis and recirculate the environmental impact report (EIR) discussion of greenhouse gas emissions and allow comments on them.

  • April 25, 2022

    Washington Tribe’s Hunting Rights Row Rebuffed Again By High Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a Washington Indian tribe’s pursuit of a declaratory judgment on its off-reservation hunting and gathering rights is barred by issue preclusion based on previous litigation stands after the U.S. Supreme Court on April 25 denied the tribe’s request for review, the second time the justices have declined to grant certiorari for the dispute.

  • April 25, 2022

    Alaska Tribal Member’s Subsistence Fishing Rights Petition Rejected

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on April 25 denied certiorari for a tribal member in Alaska seeking to protect his tribe’s “American Native rights [and] aboriginal rights” to subsistence fish in waters beyond its reservation.

  • April 22, 2022

    Federal Class Suit Alleges Lending Companies Use Tribe To Dodge Usury Law

    INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana woman filed a federal class complaint on April 19 accusing non-Native American individuals and entities of violating the state’s usury law by appropriating a South Dakota tribe’s sovereign immunity to shield them from legal action.

  • April 21, 2022

    Professors Say Tribe Should Have Its Day In Court In Hunting Rights Dispute

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a Washington Indian tribe’s pursuit of a declaratory judgment on its off-reservation hunting and gathering rights is barred by issue preclusion based on previous litigation should be overturned because an en banc decision in the prior litigation presents an “elegant solution” to the dispute, several law professors tell the U.S. Supreme Court in an April 7 amicus curiae brief.

  • April 18, 2022

    Yakama Nation’s Bid For High Court Review Of Reservation Decision Turned Down

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on April 18 denied a Washington Indian tribe’s petition for certiorari challenging a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling establishing the boundaries of the tribe’s reservation based on an 1855 treaty and subsequent statutes.

  • April 18, 2022

    Supreme Court Rejects Petitions Over Penobscot Nation Reservation Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A ruling by a divided en banc First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the reservation of the Penobscot Indian Nation in Maine does not include the waters of the Penobscot River stands after the U.S. Supreme Court on April 18 denied two petitions for certiorari filed in the case, one by the United States.

  • April 15, 2022

    Solicitor General Gets Argument Time In Indian Country Jurisdiction Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on April 14 allowed the solicitor general to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae for a man whose conviction was vacated by Oklahoma based on the high court’s criminal jurisdiction ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma in a case brought by Oklahoma to decide the authority of states to prosecute non-Indians for crimes against Indians.

  • April 13, 2022

    Oklahoma Agency Says McGirt Has No Effect On State Taxation Of Indians

    MUSKOGEE, Okla. — A Choctaw Nation couple cannot pursue declaratory and injunctive relief against the Oklahoma Tax Commission based on their argument that the landmark jurisdiction ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma bars the state from assessing taxes against them on the tribe’s reservation because they have not yet exhausted their administrative remedies with the commission, the agency says in an April 7 answer to the couple’s federal court complaint.

  • April 12, 2022

    Amici: Don’t Exempt Senior Water Right Holders From Water Curtailment Orders

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — Two Native American tribes, a Filipino organization and an environmental group on March 10 filed an amicus curiae brief urging a California appeals court to find that senior irrigators in California’s Sacramento and San Joaquin River watersheds are not exempt from water curtailment orders issued by the California State Water Control Board (SWCB) during a 2015 drought.

  • April 12, 2022

    Businessman Urges Review Of 2 10th Circuit Rulings In Dispute With Utah Tribe

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A business development contractor has taken his jurisdiction battle in a long-running breach of contract dispute with a Utah Indian tribe to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying in an April 6 petition for certiorari that the federal courts of appeals are divided on important questions involving contractual disagreements with tribes.

  • April 11, 2022

    Judge Issues Split Dismissal Rulings In Water Release Case By Tribes, Fishermen

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on March 24 denied a motion by the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) to dismiss the United States’ cross-claim in a water lawsuit by a Native American tribe, two fishing organizations and an environmental group but granted dismissal of a supplemental complaint.

  • April 11, 2022

    Magistrate:  Plaintiff Out In Water Case After Not Replacing Suspended Lawyer

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico federal magistrate judge on April 6 recommended dismissing a water users association from a water law enforcement complaint against the United States, New Mexico and a Native American tribe because the association’s lawyer was suspended from practice and it did not respond to an order to retain new counsel by March 16.

  • April 08, 2022

    Interior Secretary Rescinds 1975 Memo Regulating Tribal Water Use Actions

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on April 7 rescinded a 1975 departmental memorandum that told Bureau of Indian Affairs superintendents and directors to disapprove any Native American tribal actions to regulate water use on reservations and that required Interior’s review and approval, according to a press release.

  • April 08, 2022

    Native American Group Urges 10th Circuit To Vacate Fracking Permits

    DENVER — A Native American association and environmental groups on April 6 filed a reply brief in the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that it has jurisdiction to vacate at least 199 challenged permits to conduct hydraulic fracturing operations in the Mancos Shale formation, which they say were approved unlawfully without a complete environmental review.

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