Mealey's Native American Law

  • April 08, 2022

    California Panel Reverses In Row Between 2 Tribes Over Casino Loan

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A tribal court’s ruling that a tribe misrepresented a fact in a loan agreement with another tribe cannot be used as the basis for a state court ruling against the borrower tribe because the tribal court’s decision does not meet the definition of the term “final determination” in the agreement, a California appeals court held April 6 in reversing the state court’s judgment for the lending tribe.

  • April 06, 2022

    Utah Tribe Gets Bond Money For Improper Injunctions In Contract Row

    SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah Indian tribe is entitled to recover $20,000 from two bonds posted by a business development contractor for his pursuit of two injunctions against the tribe in their long-running breach of contract litigation because the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that the injunctions were “wrongfully obtained and without sufficient cause,” a Utah federal judge determined April 4.

  • April 06, 2022

    Supreme Court Stays Vacatur Of Trump Era Clean Water Act Rule

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on April 6 stayed a ruling by a California federal court vacating the Trump administration’s 2020 Clean Water Act rule pending an appeal in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and a subsequent petition for certiorari if one is filed.

  • April 06, 2022

    Federal Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of Freedmen Descendant’s Suit Against U.S.

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Court of Federal Claims correctly dismissed claims for money damages by a descendant of Cherokee Freedmen for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because failed to cite a source of law that provides “a sufficient basis for jurisdiction,” the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 5 in affirming.

  • April 05, 2022

    Magistrate Denies Companies’ Bid To Depose Tribal Officials In Pipeline Dispute

    MADISON, Wis. — A request by energy companies to depose officials of a Wisconsin Indian tribe over their denial of water quality certifications in connection with the companies’ proposed projects to abate pipeline hazards was rejected April 4 by a federal magistrate judge, who said that while the officials’ actions were “quintessentially administrative” rather than legislative, the desire to hear the “thought-processes” for their decisions is not “proportional to the needs of this case.”

  • April 04, 2022

    American Indian Congress Backs Post-McGirt Jurisdiction Scheme In Oklahoma

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oklahoma’s bid to expand its jurisdiction over crimes against Native Americans should be rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court because doing so would weaken federal law and endanger public safety, the National Congress of American Indians says in an April 1 amicus brief in support of a man whose child neglect conviction was vacated by the state based on the landmark jurisdiction ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma.

  • April 01, 2022

    Panel Issues Mixed Ruling For Man’s Banishment From Alaska Native Village

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Due to sovereign immunity, a non-Native Alaskan cannot pursue civil rights violation claims against his tribe over his banishment from the tribal village for trying to import alcohol into the dry village, but the trial court must still determine whether he is suing tribal officials in their official capacities or as individuals, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held March 30 in affirming in part and reversing in part.

  • April 01, 2022

    Seneca Nation Pays N.Y. $565M In Gaming Revenue, Providing Funding For NFL Stadium

    BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Seneca Nation of Indians has paid New York nearly $565 million as partial satisfaction of court-ordered back payments for the state’s share of the tribe’s gambling revenue, with most of the money to be used by the state to help pay for a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills football team, according to a notice filed in federal court March 29 and a news release from the governor.

  • March 31, 2022

    Cert Petition Filed Over Tax On Lessees Of California Tribe’s Land

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — With “sharp disagreement among the lower courts” about whether a California county’s imposition of a possessory interest tax on lessees of land set aside for a Native American tribe is preempted by federal Indian law, U.S. Supreme Court review is warranted, hundreds of lessees say in a March 22 petition for a writ of certiorari.

  • March 31, 2022

    After Tribal Law Ruling, Dismissal Of Coverage Suit Ordered Due To Settlement

    PHOENIX — A federal judge in Arizona on March 10 issued an order dismissing a commercial general liability insurer’s declaratory judgment action against its insured contractor, as well as a cross-action, with prejudice in 60 days unless a stipulation to dismiss is filed before that date in light of an undisclosed settlement announced by the parties in a March 9 notice; the notice was filed two days after the judge declined to dismiss the cross-claims after finding that tribal law applies to the subcontract.

  • March 30, 2022

    Alaska Tribal Member Petitions Supreme Court Over Subsistence Fishing Rights

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — On March 29, Alaska waived its right to respond to a petition for certiorari filed 10 days earlier by a tribal member asking the U.S. Supreme Court to protect his tribe’s “American Native rights, aboriginal rights, and rights under presidential proclamation, treaty, and congressional act” to subsistence fish in waters beyond its reservation.

  • March 29, 2022

    New Mexico, Tribes Sue For Hazardous Waste Cleanup At Former Munitions Depot

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico and two Native American tribes filed a federal suit on March 28 against the U.S. government seeking damages for natural resources destruction by hazardous substances, including “explosive compounds” on land of a former U.S. Army munitions depot that will be transferred to the tribes once it is cleaned up.

  • March 29, 2022

    Suit Filed Over Exclusion Of Native Americans From South Dakota Hotel

    RAPID CITY, S.D. — A Native American woman and nonprofit advocacy group sued a hotel in South Dakota federal court alleging discrimination, saying in a March 24 first amended class complaint that the hotel owner has barred Indians from the premises due to violence at the hotel, with the owner saying in a social media post that she can’t tell “‘who is a bad Native or a good Native.’”

  • March 28, 2022

    High Court Rejects Cert For Tribal Recognition Claims In Trademark Row

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 28 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by a California man who says he is the rightful leader of a Native American tribe but who had his trademark infringement counterclaims against the tribe dismissed because he presented only a political question about tribal recognition.

  • March 28, 2022

    CVS, Walgreen, Walmart Appeal Remand Of Tribe’s Opioid Suit To State Court

    MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Three retail pharmacy chains on March 25 appealed the remand of a Native American tribe’s opioid lawsuit to Oklahoma state court after the court ruled that without a co-defendant that raised the federal officer defense, the federal court lacked subject matter jurisdiction.

  • March 28, 2022

    Penobscot Nation:  Review Needed For 1st Circuit’s Divided Reservation Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The en banc First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals went against U.S. Supreme Court precedents on interpreting statutes when it ruled that the reservation of the Penobscot Indian Nation in Maine does not include the waters of the Penobscot River, so high court review is needed, the tribe says in a reply brief filed the day before the Supreme Court’s March 23 distribution of the consolidated case for conference.

  • March 28, 2022

    2nd Cert Petition Filed Over Issue Preclusion Ruling In Treaty Rights Dispute

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Washington Indian tribe on March 11 filed the second petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court over a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling that the tribe’s pursuit of a declaratory judgment on its off-reservation hunting and fishing rights is barred by issue preclusion based on previous litigation.

  • March 25, 2022

    Yakama Nation Tells High Court Reservation Ruling Should Stand

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court review is not needed for a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling establishing the boundaries of a Washington Indian tribe’s reservation because the appellate court correctly interpreted an 1855 treaty and subsequent statutes establishing what land the federal government set aside for the tribe, the tribe says in a March 11 brief in opposition filed at the request of the high court.

  • March 25, 2022

    10th Circuit Reverses, Remands For Exhaustion Ruling In Tribal Banishment Case

    DENVER — A Utah federal judge erred in finding that four Indians who were banished from their tribe could not pursue federal habeas relief because their banishment does not equate to being in custody because he should have determined first whether the banished members exhausted their tribal remedies, a divided 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held March 18 in reversing and remanding.

  • March 22, 2022

    Oklahoma Asks Justices To Define Indian Status Test For Major Crime Defendants

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oklahoma filed two more petitions for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court recently involving the high court’s landmark criminal jurisdiction ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma, this time asking the justices to decide how to determine if a major crime defendant is an Indian who must be prosecuted by a tribe or the federal government rather than the state.

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