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Mealey's Native American Law

  • July 23, 2018

    Inmate Gets OK To File 2nd Complaint Over Tobacco Ban

    ST. LOUIS — In a July 20 order, a Missouri federal judge found that “numerous defects” render a plaintiff unlikely to succeed on his claim that the rights of Native American inmates were violated when the Missouri Department of Corrections instituted a policy prohibiting tobacco (Scotty McCracken, et al., v. Chantay Godert, et al., No. 18-35, E.D. Mo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121480).

  • July 20, 2018

    Patent Board Finding Of No Tribal Immunity Affirmed By Federal Circuit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A denial by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of a motion to terminate an inter partes review (IPR) of patents relating to the dry eye treatment Restasis was not erroneous according to the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which on July 20 agreed with the board that transfer of the patents to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe did not trigger tribal immunity (Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, et al. v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., Nos. 2018-1638, -1639, -1640, -1641, -1642, -1643, Fed. Cir.).

  • July 20, 2018

    Tribal Casino Opponents Lose Summary Judgment Battle With Tribe, Government

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Opponents of a proposed tribal casino in California lost another round in their fight to halt the project when a federal judge on July 18 granted the tribe and federal government summary judgment on all of the opponents’ claims asserting federal law violations and dismissed their suit (Stand Up For California!, et al. v. U.S. Department of the Interior, et al., No. 2:16-cv-02681, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120233).

  • July 20, 2018

    California Appeals Panel: ICWA Wasn’t Followed When Ending Parental Rights

    RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A California appellate panel on July 9 conditionally reversed a juvenile court’s termination of a mother’s parental rights based on a failure to comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act’s (ICWA) notice and inquiry requirements (In re K.L., No. E0699401, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 2, 2018 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4642).

  • July 18, 2018

    Peltier Can Proceed With Free Speech Suit Against Agency That Removed His Art

    TACOMA, Wash. — Imprisoned Native American activist Leonard Peltier, convicted of killing two FBI agents in 1975, raises a genuine issue of fact in his claim that Washington state officials violated his free speech rights when they removed his paintings from a public display honoring Indian heritage due to complaints from several people, including two former FBI agents, a federal judge ruled July 16 (Leonard Peltier, et al. v. Joel Sacks, et al., No. 17-5209, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118092).

  • July 17, 2018

    D.C. Circuit Failed To Protect Community In Casino Ruling, Justices Told

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal appeals court’s dismissal of all challenges to the U.S. government’s approval of an Indian tribe’s casino-resort project in California will have disastrous effects on the surrounding community and “will encourage proliferation of off-reservation megacasinos,” gaming opponents argue in their July 9 petition for review by the U.S. Supreme Court (Stand Up For California!, et al. v. U.S. Department of the Interior, et al., No. 18-61, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 2531).

  • July 17, 2018

    Tribe Loses Again On Remand In Fight Against Neighbor Tribe’s History Center

    OKLAHOMA CITY — State law claims in an Oklahoma tribe’s latest challenge to another tribe’s construction of a history center are barred by tribal sovereign immunity, and the remaining claims under federal environmental and historic preservation laws are moot for lack of a remedy, since the center was completed during the case, a federal judge held July 9 on remand (Caddo Nation of Oklahoma v. Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, et al., No. 5:16-cv-00559, W.D. Okla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113593).

  • July 17, 2018

    Mediation Of Native American Groundwater Suit Fails, Parties Tell Judge

    RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Parties in a California groundwater dispute on June 18 told a federal judge that despite three mediation sessions, they were unable to reach a resolution (Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, et al. v. Coachella Valley Water District, et al., No. 13-883, C.D. Calif.).

  • July 13, 2018

    N.D. High Court: Concurrent Jurisdiction Exists In Tribal Child Support Suit

    BISMARCK, N.D. — A North Dakota state court has concurrent jurisdiction to decide an Indian father’s child support obligation where the father is an enrolled member of the Crow Nation but lived on land of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled July 11, rejecting the father’s claim that the Turtle Mountain Tribal Court had exclusive subject matter jurisdiction (North Dakota, et al. v. Daniel Peltier, No. 20170463, N.D. Sup., 2018 ND 170).

  • July 9, 2018

    D.C. Circuit: Tribal Corporations Not Exempt From Record Keeping

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The record-keeping requirements of the Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act (CCTA) “do not turn on any territorial determination,” and therefore, businesses incorporated under the laws of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska must still maintain data on the purchasers of cigarettes on tribal land, the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled July 3 (Ho-Chunk Inc., et al. v. Jeff Sessions, No. 17-5140, D.C. Dir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18107).

  • July 5, 2018

    Status Quo Needs Preserving In Tribal Fishing Rights Row, Wildlife Agency Says

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals went too far in affirming that two Washington Indian tribes have the right to hunt whales and seals on their traditional hunting grounds in the Pacific Ocean because the ruling also extends the tribes’ right to take fish in a vast area where they previously never fished, the state’s wildlife agency told the U.S. Supreme Court in a June 25 brief in support of another tribe’s petition for a writ of certiorari (Makah Indian Tribe, et al. v. Quileute Indian Tribe, et al., No. 17-1592, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 2376).

  • July 2, 2018

    Lack Of Final Agency Action Dooms Breach Of Trust Claim Against Agency

    PRESCOTT, Ariz. — A Navajo woman cannot pursue a claim that the Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation breached its duty of care by failing to notify her of the deadline to apply for relocation benefits because the agency never issued a final ruling on the issue, an Arizona federal judge decided June 28 (Veronica Torpey v. Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation, No. 3:17-cv-08184, D. Ariz., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108235).

  • June 29, 2018

    Granddaughter Of Black Indian Slave Takes Fight For Accounting To High Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court guidance is needed to cure the “disparate treatment” accorded by the United States to black slaves of Indians who were freed after the Civil War in relation to the treatment of members of the tribes that once kept blacks as slaves, a descendant of one of the freedmen and an organization that advocates for freedmen rights tell the high court in their June 14 petition for a writ of certiorari (Leatrice Tanner-Brown, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 17-1681, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 2320).

  • June 28, 2018

    Justices Take Government’s Advice, Grant Cert In Tribal Hunting Rights Dispute

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court will decide if the Crow Tribe of Indians’ right under an 1868 treaty to hunt on “unoccupied lands of the United States” survived Wyoming’s establishment as a state and the creation of Bighorn National Forest, according to the court’s June 28 order list (Clayvin B. Herrera v. State of Wyoming, No. 17-532, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 25, 2018

    Justices Seek Opinion Of Government In Tribal Remedy Exhaustion Dispute

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court invited the solicitor general on June 25 to give the views of the United States on whether a business owner can challenge an Indian tribe’s revocation of his tribal business permits in state court or whether he must first exhaust any remedies he has with the tribe before pursuing his tortious interference claims against it (Ryan Harvey, et al. v. Ute Indian Tribe of Uintah and Ouray Reservation, et al., No. 17-1301, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 25, 2018

    Cert Denied For Ruling That Tribe’s Gaming Machine Deal Needed Federal Review

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 25 declined to review a California appeals court’s decision that a promissory note executed by an Indian tribe for payment of gambling machine rentals was a “collateral agreement” under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) that was invalid because it was subject to approval by the National Indian Gaming Commission (Sharp Image Gaming, Inc. v. Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, No. 17-1330, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 25, 2018

    Tribes’ Petitions Denied; Wyoming Reservation Will Remain Diminished

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ finding that the size of an Indian reservation in Wyoming was diminished in 1905 by an act of Congress stands after the U.S. Supreme Court on June 25 declined to review the case (Eastern Shoshone Tribe v. Wyoming, et al., No. 17-1164, Northern Arapaho Tribe, et al. v. Wyoming, et al., No. 17-1159, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 25, 2018

    Washington State’s Petition Granted In Row Over Taxing Rights Versus Treaty Rights

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari June 25 to decide whether an 1855 Indian treaty protects a tribe in Washington state from paying state taxes on gasoline it hauls to a reservation (Washington State Department of Licensing v. Cougar Den, Inc., No. 16-1498, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 25, 2018

    Tribal Immunity For Tort Claims Not Properly Before Court, Injured Parties Say

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Alabama Supreme Court correctly relied on U.S. Supreme Court authority in finding that an Indian tribe is not protected by sovereign immunity from tort claims in a car crash negligence suit, and the tribe’s reliance on older court cases in support of tribal immunity fails, two people injured in the crash tell the nation’s top justices in a June 8 opposition brief (Poarch Band of Creek Indians, et al. v. Casey Marie Wilkes, et al., No. 17-1175, 2018 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 2237).

  • June 22, 2018

    Tribe: Trump Administration’s Fracking Permit Decision Is ‘Unlawful’

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation on June 20 filed a lawsuit in District of Columbia federal court against the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke seeking declaratory relief from the “unlawful decision” by the DOI that invalidated a stay issued by another federal agency with regard to hydraulic fracturing permits (Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara Nation v. The United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 18-1462, D. D.C.).