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Indian Law Bulletins  |  Federal Trial Courts  |  2002

A service of the National Indian Law Library of the Native American Rights Fund


*The U.S. District Courts Bulletin began in September 2002.

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December

Hopi Tribe v. United States
55 Fed.Cl. 81, Docket No. 97-301L
United States Court of Federal Claims, December 27, 2002.

Subjects: Hopi Tribe of Arizona ; Breach of contract -- United States; Dam -- Maintenance and repair; United States. Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act of 1974; Jurisdiction.

*Synopsis: Contractor hired by Indian tribe to work on dam repair project funded by federal government brought suit against the United States for breach of contract. On defendant's motion to dismiss treated as motion for summary judgment, the Court of Federal Claims, Horn, J., held that contractor was not in privity of contract with the United States. Motion granted.

*Holding: Hopi Tribe brought suit against the United States seeking recovery of legal fees and expenses incurred in litigation pursuant to the Navajo-Hopi Settlement Act of 1974. On defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and cross motions for summary judgment, the Court of Federal Claims, Merow, Senior Judge, held that:
(1) section of the Act authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to pay tribe's legal expenses incurred in litigation under the Act is not money-mandating, precluding jurisdiction, and
(2) the Act does not impose a specific fiduciary duty requiring the Secretary to reimburse all of the tribe's legal expenses incurred in litigation under the Act.
Defendant's motion to dismiss granted.

Sonoma Falls Developers, LLC v. Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians of California
2002 WL 34727095, No. Cā€“01ā€“4125 VRW.
United States District Court, Northern District of California, December 26, 2002

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Before the court is defendant's motion to dismiss (Doc # 45) and motion to strike (Doc # 48) portions of plaintiffs' second amended complaint (SAC). For the reasons set forth below, the court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part defendant's motion to dismiss and DENIES defendant's motion to strike.

*Holding: (not yet available)

Cobell v. Norton
2002 WL 31867798, No. CIV.A. 96-1285 RCL.
United States District Court, District of Columbia, December 23, 2002

Subjects: IIM (Individual Indian monies) accounts -- Accurate accounting and account reform; Breach of trust -- United States; Trusts and trustees -- Accounting; Injunctions; Civil procedure; Court rules.

*Synopsis: see below

*Holding: On plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction and other related motions, the District Court, Lamberth, J., held that:
(1) defendants' mailing of statements of account to individual class members that had the effect of extinguishing the rights of those class members without first seeking the approval of court was improper, and warranted issuance of a restrictive order, and
(2) defense counsel violated no-contact ethical rule by permitting defendants to send improper notices to class members.
Motion denied.

Cherokee Nation Of Oklahoma v. Norton
241 F.Supp.2d 1368, No. 98-CV-903-H.
United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma, Dec. 20, 2002.

Subjects: Federal recognition of Indian tribes -- Restoration of recognition -- Delaware Tribe of Indians, Oklahoma; Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma; United States. Dept. of the Interior.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe challenged Interior Secretary's decision to recognize sub-tribal unit as separate tribal entity.

*Holding: The District Court, Holmes, J., held that decision was not announcement of new substantive policy.
Ordered accordingly.

Demontiney v. United States
54 Fed.Cl. 780, Docket No. 02-170C
United States Court of Federal Claims, December 17, 2002.

Subjects: Chippewa-Cree Indians of the Rocky Boy's Reservation, Montana; Breach of contract -- United States; Dam -- Maintenance and repair; United States. Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act of 1974; Jurisdiction.

*Synopsis: Contractor hired by Indian tribe to work on dam repair project funded by federal government brought suit against the United States for breach of contract.

*Holding: On defendant's motion to dismiss treated as motion for summary judgment, the Court of Federal Claims, Horn, J., held that contractor was not in privity of contract with the United States. Motion granted.

McNabb v. United States
54 Fed.Cl. 759, Docket No. 00-143C
United States Court of Federal Claims, December 10, 2002.

Subjects: Agricultural subsidies -- United States; United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

*Synopsis: Farm partnership which leased land on Indian reservation brought suit against the United States, challenging government's denial of crop subsidy payments.

*Holding: On defendant's motion for summary judgment, the Court of Federal Claims, Horn, J., held that: (1) plaintiff was not in privity of contract with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) by virtue of BIA's approval of the leases; (2) government was not equitably estopped from denying that the leases were crop share leases which afforded eligibility for farm subsidy payments; and (3) refusal of the BIA to recognize that leases of reservation land allotted to Native Americans were crop share leases rather that cash leases, allegedly resulting in lessee's loss of crop subsidy payments, did not constitute a taking. Motion Granted

Citizens Progressive Alliance v. United States Bureau of Indian Affairs
241 F.Supp.2d 1342, No. CIV.01-1044 LCS/DJS.
United States District Court, D. New Mexico, December 3, 2002.

Subjects: United States. Freedom of Information Act; United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs; United States. Dept. of the Interior; Water rights; Tribes -- Claims.

*Synopsis: Nonprofit organization and a project coordinator for organization brought Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) action against Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Department of Interior (DOI), seeking information regarding water rights claims by certain Indian tribes. Indian tribes intervened as defendants.

*Holding: On cross motions for summary judgment, the District Court, Smith, United States Magistrate Judge, held that:
(1) requested documents were exempted from FOIA disclosure as inter-agency or intra-agency communications;
(2) disclosure by BIA of documents to Indian tribe would be protected by common interest privilege;
(3) no evidence supported claim that BIA's denial of FOIA request improperly failed to include basis for decision;
(4) organization failed to show that requested fee waiver would likely contribute significantly to public understanding of operations or activities of government.

Wyandotte Nation v. City Of Kansas City, Kansas
2002 WL 31941041, No. 01-2303-CM.
United States District Court, D. Kansas, December 2, 2002

Subjects: Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma -- Claims against Kansas City (Kan.) -- Compensation for taking; Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma -- Land tenure; Judgments, Declaratory; Real property -- Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma -- Restoration of; Treaties -- Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma; Extinguishment of Indian title.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) Plaintiff Wyandotte Nation is a federally-recognized Indian tribe. Plaintiff asserts all Defendants named in its First Amended Complaint are current record owners of lands allegedly belonging to Plaintiff. More specifically, Plaintiff alleges each of the 1,362 named Defendants in the First Amended Complaint assert an interest in, claim title to and/or otherwise purport to own lands to which Plaintiff legally holds title.

In this lawsuit, Plaintiff seeks declaratory judgment, recovery of possession of real property and monetary damages arising out of Defendants' alleged improper taking of, and trespass upon, the land at issue. Plaintiff asserts in its First Amended Complaint that it acquired the lands at issue by Treaty ratified in 1848, and that its interest was never legally or properly extinguished or transferred. Accordingly, Plaintiff asserts it still holds legal title to the lands, and that its title is superior to any title Defendants purport to hold.

*Holdings: coming soon

Related News Stories:NIGC Rules against Okla. Tribe's Casino in Kansas (Indianz.com) 03/26

November

Cobell v. Norton
No. CIV.A.96-1285(RCL).
United States District Court, District of Columbia, November 12, 2002.

Subjects: IIM (Individual Indian monies) accounts -- Accurate accounting and account reform; Breach of trust -- United States; Trusts and trustees -- Accounting; Lawyers -- Fees.

*Synopsis:Beneficiaries of Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust accounts, suing government for breach of fiduciary duty, moved for award of attorney fees incurred in successfully opposing government's motions for protective orders.

*Holding: The District Court, Lamberth, J., held that:
(1) reasonable hourly rate for senior attorney in Washington, D.C. area was $340 per hour for work performed between June, 1999 and May 2000, and $350 per hour for work performed between June, 2000 and May 2001;
(2) reasonable hourly rate for accounting services was $225 per hour;
(3) plaintiffs were not entitled to recover fees for time spent on tangentially related issues;
(4) plaintiffs were entitled to compensation for time reasonably spent preparing fee statement; and
(5) expenses were not recoverable absent itemization.
Fees awarded.

Cobell v. Norton
No. CIV.A.96-1285(RCL).
United States District Court, November 12, 2002.

Subjects: IIM (Individual Indian monies) accounts -- Accurate accounting and account reform; Breach of trust -- United States; Trusts and trustees -- Accounting; Contempt of court.

*Synopsis:Beneficiaries of Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust accounts, suing government for breach of fiduciary duty, moved for finding of contempt, based on government's failure to comply with special master's orders.

*Holding: The District Court, Lamberth, J., held that finding of contempt was not warranted.
Motion denied.

Split Family Support Group v. Moran
2002 WL 31527919, Docket No. CV 02-166-M-DWM
United States District Court, D. Montana, November 8, 2002

Subjects: Elections; Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Confederated Tribes of, Montana -- Constitution; United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs; United States. Indian Reorganization Act (25 USC 461 et seq.).

*Synopsis: Following Indian family support group's filing of petition with Bureau of Indian Affairs to hold election on proposed amendment to tribal constitution, group brought action alleging that BIA failed to conduct the election as required by Indian Reorganization Act (IRA). Following issuance of preliminary injunction, group moved for writ of mandamus.

*Holding: The District Court, Molloy, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) "tribal request" meant receipt in area office of BIA a duly enacted tribal resolution, rather than petition signed by group of tribal members;
(2) group failed to demonstrate irreparable harm would arise from denial of injunction; and
(3) balance of harms did not favor issuance of injunction.
Motion denied.

Cobell v. Norton
2002 WL 31455091, No. CIV.A.96-1285(RCL).
United States District Court, District of Columbia, Nov. 1, 2002.

Subjects: IIM (Individual Indian Monies) accounts -- Accurate accounting and account reform; Breach of trust -- United States; Trusts and trustees -- Accounting; Financial statements.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) This matter comes before the Court on Interior Defendants' Motion for an Order Permitting the Provision of Copies of Copies of Historical Statements of Account to Class Counsel [1471-1], and Plaintiffs' Consolidated Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [1534-1, 1531-2].

*Holding: (from the opinion) Upon consideration of these motions, the responses thereto, and the record in this case, it is hereby ORDERED that the Department of the Interior shall be permitted, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(11), to provide plaintiffs' counsel with a copy of any historical statements of account provided to any Individual Indian Money account holder. It is further ORDERED that any historical statements of account so provided shall be subject to the terms of the Protective Order entered by this Court on November 27, 1996 [15] setting forth procedures for handling confidential material and allowing for designated material to be filed under seal. Defendants have represented that defendants, including their employees and agents, will not send, by any means of communication whatsoever, any further historical statements of account to any Individual Indian Money account holder or to any class member in the instant litigation, until such time as this Court issues a ruling on plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction [1531-2].

It is further ORDERED that the parties shall prepare further briefs on the issues, as orally directed by the Court, according to the following schedule: Defendants' brief shall be filed with this Court no later than Friday, November 16, 2002. Plaintiffs' brief in opposition thereto shall be filed with this Court no later than Friday, November 30, 2002. Defendants' reply brief thereto shall be filed with this Court no later than Friday, December 14, 2002. It is further ORDERED that in light of defendants' representations to this Court on November 1, 2002 that defendants will refrain from sending any further historical statements of account to any Individual Indian Money account holders, plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order [1534-1] shall be, and hereby is, DENIED as moot.
SO ORDERED.

October

Sunn v. Cattell
2002 WL 31455482, No. Civ. 02-168-M.
United States District Court, D. New Hampshire, October 31, 2002.

Subjects: Civil rights; United States. Constitution. 1st Amendment; United States. Constitution. 14th Amendment; Equality before the law – United States; Freedom of religion – United States; Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility; Prisoners.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) William Sunn and Justin Barnaby, both proceeding pro se, bring this action against Bruce Cattell, Warden of the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility ("NCF"), seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for what they claim are ongoing violations of their First and Fourteenth Amendment Rights. Sunn and Barnaby, both of whom are incarcerated at NCF, contend that Cattell abridged their right to freely exercise their Native American religion and discriminated against them based on their religion, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

*Holding: The undisputed material facts of record reveal that neither Sunn nor Barnaby exhausted the administrative remedies available to them through the inmate grievance procedures. Consequently, pursuant to the provisions of the PLRA, the court cannot reach the merits of their claims, which are hereby dismissed, without prejudice. Defendant's motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 24) is granted and plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 18.2) is denied.
The Clerk of the Court shall enter judgment in favor of the defendant and close the case.

Chiwewe v. Burlington Northern And Santa Fe Railway Company
239 F.Supp.2d 1213, No. CIV.A.02-1512.
United States District Court, D. New Mexico. October 21, 2002.

Subjects: Railroads -- Right of way -- Indian Country (U.S.); Death; Lawyers -- Fees. Jurisdiction -- Indian Country; Jurisdiction -- United States. Injunctions.

*Synopsis: Family members of Native American who was killed by train while on railroad bridge located on right-of-way owned by railroad within tribal land brought action against railroad. Upon railroad's motion, the District Court entered preliminary injunction and order to show cause, enjoining plaintiffs from further litigating parallel case filed in the tribal court, and ordering plaintiffs to show cause why the preliminary injunction should not become permanent. Family members moved for attorney fees.

*Holding: . The District Court, Parker, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) District Court was not required to abstain from deciding case, as tribal court lacked jurisdiction, and
(2) permanent injunction was warranted.

Cabazon Band Of Mission Indians v. Smith
2002 WL 32065673, No. CV974687CAS(JGX).
United States District Court, C.D. California, Western Division., Oct. 16, 2002.

Subjects: Indian reservation police -- Cabazon Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians of the Cabazon Reservation California; Cabazon Public Safety Department; Riverside County (Calif.); Roads -- Off Indian reservations; California. Vehicle Code; Police vehicles -- Lighting; Sovereignty -- Cabazon Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians of the Cabazon Reservation California.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe sued county sheriff, seeking determination that tribal public safety department vehicles equipped with light bars could traverse state highways while passing from one segment of reservation to another. The District Court, 34 F. Supp.2d 1201, entered summary judgment for sheriff, and tribe appealed. The Court of Appeals, 271 F.3d 910 remanded for determination whether deputization agreement between Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and tribe made vehicles into "authorized emergency vehicles" exempt from state statutory bar on use of light bars. Tribe moved for summary judgment.

*Holding: The District Court, Snyder, J., held that:
(1) deputization agreement did not confer emergency status on vehicles;
(2) BIA requirement that vehicles have emergency lights did not constitute federal law preempting state ban on light bars; and
(3) state highway patrol commissioner had not conferred emergency vehicle status on vehicles.
Motion denied.

Pueblo of Santo Domingo v. United States
54 Fed.Cl. 240, Docket Nos. 355-A, 355-C, 355-D, 355-E, 355-G
United States Court of Federal Claims, October 9, 2002.

Subjects: Pueblo of Santo Domingo, New Mexico; Lawyers -- Fees.

*Synopsis: On plaintiff's motion for award of attorneys' fees and expenses in an Indian claims case, the Court of Federal Claims, Baskir, J., held that: (1) authority of the Court to award attorney fees in Indian claims cases derives from statute, and (2) attorneys of record for Indian tribe which prevailed in land claims case which had been pending for 50 years were entitled to an award of attorney fees in the amount of 10% of the judgment.

*Holding: not yet available

Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma v. United States
54 Fed.Cl. 116, Docket Nos. 218-89L, 630-89L
United States Court of Federal Claims, October 9, 2002.

Subjects: United States. Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Nations Claims Settlement Act; United Keetowah Band of Cherokee Indians of Oklahoma -- Compensation for taking; Extinguishment of Indian title -- United Keetowah Band of Cherokee Indians of Oklahoma; Arkansas River; Trusts and trustees -- United States; Breach of trust -- United States; Treaties -- Cherokee Indians; Parties to actions -- Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma; Sovereign immunity -- Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma; Jurisdiction -- United States.

*Synopsis: Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and the Chickasaw Nation brought suit against the United States for breach of fiduciary trust duties relating to the management and care of natural resources and property interests in the Arkansas Riverbed.

*Holding: On motion to intervene as plaintiff, the Court of Federal Claims, Damich, Chief Judge, held that motion would be denied as untimely.

San Juan Citizens' Alliance v. Babbitt
2002 WL 31398677, Docket No. 00-CV-379.
United States District Court, D. Colorado, October 4, 2002.

Subjects: United States. National Environmental Policy Act (42 USCA 4321 et seq.); United States. Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976 (43 USC 1701); United States. Bureau of Land Management; Environmental impact analysis; Coalbed methane; Southern Ute Indian Tribe of the Southern Ute Reservation, Colorado; Amoco Production Foundation; Exhaustion of administrative remedies.

*Synopsis: Environmental group and tribal organization brought action pursuant to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLPMA) alleging that United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) failed to prepare adequate analysis of cumulative impacts of increased coalbed methane activity in resource area on tribal and federal land. Oil company and Indian tribe intervened.

*Holding: On interveners' motion to dismiss, the District Court, Blackburn, J., held that:
(1) action involved challenge to "final agency action;"
(2) action was ripe for review; and
(3) plaintiffs were not required to exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit.
Motion denied.

September

Wiener v. Wampanoag Aquinnah Shellfish Hatchery Corporation, and Wampanoag Tribal Council Of Gay Head, Inc. (Aquinnah)
223 F.Supp. 2d. 346, Docket No. CIV.A.01-10924-DPW.
United States District Court, D. Massachusetts., Sept. 30, 2002.

Subjects: Zoning; Shellfish trade; Wampanoag Aquinnah Shellfish Hatchery Corporation; Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) of Massachusetts.

*Synopsis: Town zoning officer brought action against Native American tribe in state court, alleging zoning violations in connection with tribe's shellfish hatchery. Action was removed to federal court.

*Holding: The District Court, Woodlock, J., held that tribe's answer and counterclaims did not properly raise questions of federal law under "well-pleaded complaint" rule.
Remanded to state court.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Peabody Coal Company
2002 WL 32067457, Docket No. 01-CV-1050.
U.S. District Court, D. Arizona, Sept. 26, 2002.

Subjects: United States. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; United States. Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.); Discrimination in employment; Employee selection -- Indian preference in hiring; Navajo Indians; Peabody Western Coal Company.

*Synopsis: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed Title VII complaint against coal company, claiming it engaged in prohibited national origin discrimination by giving preference in hiring to members of Navajo Native American tribe over members of other tribes. EEOC moved to strike portions of statement of facts and affidavits submitted by coal company in its motion for summary judgment, and coal company additionally moved to strike as untimely EEOC's reply in support of its motion to strike, to dismiss and/or stay and/or strike. Applicants for employment moved to intervene as plaintiffs.

*Holding: The District Court, Murguia, J., held that:
(1) Title VII did not grant EEOC authority to sue Indian tribe when it was not employer, but instead was party to coal leases executed with employer that directed preference;
(2) Navajo nation was necessary and indispensable party who could not be joined; and
(3) lawsuit was also subject to dismissal on alternative ground it presented nonjusticiable political question.
Summary judgment for defendants; other motions denied or vacated as moot.

Seminole Nation Of Oklahoma v. Norton
2002 WL 31109804, Docket No. Civ.A. 02-0730(RBW).
U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, September 23, 2002

Subjects: United States. Administrative Procedure Act; United States. Principal Chief Act; Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. United States. Dept. of the Interior.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action for declaratory judgment that Department of the Interior (DOI) violated Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and Principal Chief Act (PCA). Parties cross-moved for summary judgment.

*Holding: The District Court, Walton, J., held that:
(1) DOI did not violate APA;
(2) DOI refusal to recognize band elections without evidence of unlawful exclusion of candidates was contrary to law; and
(3) DOI's continued recognition of Principal Chief did not violate PCA.
Motions granted in part and denied in part.

Gonzalez v. Litscher
230 F.Supp.2d 950, No. 01-C-521-C.
United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin, September 20, 2002

Subjects: Civil rights; United States. Constitution. 1st Amendment; United States. Constitution. 14th Amendment; Equality before the law – United States; Freedom of religion – United States; Indian prisoners; Sweat lodges; Religious articles.

*Synopsis: Native American prisoner brought § 1983 action, alleging First and Fourteenth Amendment violations.

*Holding: On defendants' motion for summary judgment, the District Court, Crabb, J., held that:
(1) prisoner failed to exhaust administrative remedies with regard to one claim;
(2) denial of access to sweat lodge was reasonably related to legitimate penological interest;
(3) fact issue existed as to whether denial of access to other religious articles was justified;
(4) defendants were entitled to qualified immunity from damages; and
(5) prisoner was not denied equal protection.
Motion granted in part and denied in part.

Ford Motor Company v. Todocheene
2002 WL 31105096, No. CV-02-1100-PCT-PGR.
Tribal Court in and for the Navajo Nation, Arizona, September 19, 2002

Subjects: Jurisdiction -- Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah; Jurisdiction -- Exhaustion of tribal remedies; Torts. Products liability; Death; Vehicles.

*Synopsis: Following filing, in Indian tribal court, of product liability action against vehicle manufacturer, by parents of tribe member who was killed in one-vehicle accident on reservation, manufacturer brought action in federal court for declaratory and injunctive relief.

*Holding: The District Court, Rosenblatt, J., held that:
(1) manufacturer did not consent to tribal jurisdiction over tort claims;
(2) need to preserve tribe's political integrity did not give tribal court jurisdiction;
(3) manufacturer was not required to exhaust tribal court remedies; and
(4) preliminary injunction was warranted.
Motion granted.

City Of Roseville v. Norton
2002 WL 31027695, No. Civ. A 02-0628(EGS).
U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, September 11, 2002

Subjects: Trust or restricted lands; Casinos; United States. Dept. of the Interior; United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria of California; Equal footing doctrine; United States. Constitution. 10th Amendment; California; United States. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) (25 USC 2701 et seq.); Real property -- Restoration of;

*Synopsis: Private association and two California municipalities brought action challenging the Secretary of Interior's decision to take a 50-acre parcel of land into trust for Indian tribe for the purpose of operating a casino.

*Holding: Upon federal defendants' and intervenor tribe's motions to dismiss, and for summary judgment, the District Court, Sullivan, J., held that:
(1) plaintiffs lacked standing to assert alleged constitutional rights of the State of California under the Enclaves and Statehood Clauses, the Tenth Amendment, or the Equal Footing Doctrine;
(2) Auburn Indian Restoration Act, pursuant to which Secretary of Interior took the parcel of land into trust for Indian tribe, did not constitute an unconstitutional delegation of Congressional authority;
(3) organization sufficiently alleged standing to challenge decision as violative of Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA);
(4) United States' acceptance of 50-acre parcel of land into trust for Indian tribe constituted a "restoration of lands" for the tribe within meaning of restoration of lands exception to IGRA; and
(5) environmental assessment (EA) prepared in connection with proposed casino project was sufficient to comply with requirements of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Motions granted in part.

Ramsey v. U.S.
2002 WL 31017679, Docket No. 01-35014.
United States District Court, 9th Cir.(D.C.), September 11, 2002

Subjects: Excise tax -- United States; Tax exemption; Diesel fuels -- Taxation; Vehicles -- Taxation; Member; Yakama Indian Nation of the Yakama Reservation, Washington; Confederated Tribes and Bands of the; Yakama Treaty of 1855.

*Synopsis: Taxpayer, who was enrolled member of Yakama Indian Tribe, brought suit against United States seeking refund of federal excise taxes for heavy vehicle use, and diesel fuel use, which had been imposed in connection with his operation of logging trucks on public highways outside Yakama Reservation. The United States District Court for the District of Washington, William Fremming Nielsen, J., 134 F.Supp.2d 1203, entered summary judgment in favor of taxpayer. United States appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Trott, Circuit Judge, held that Yakama Treaty of 1855 did not contain "express exemptive language," and thus did not exempt member from paying federal taxes on heavy vehicle use and diesel fuel.

State Of Nevada v. The United States
2002 WL 31050775, Docket No. CV-N-01-058-ECR-RAM
U.S. District Court, Nevada, September 6, 2002

Subjects: United States. Fallon Paiute Shoshone Indian Tribes Water Rights Settlement Act of 1990; Effectiveness and validity of law -- United States; Trust or restricted lands; Nevada.

*Synopsis: State brought action against federal government and Native American tribe, challenging validity of Fallon Paiute Shoshone Indian Tribes Water Rights Settlement Act of 1990.

*Holding: On defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state claim, the District Court, Edward C. Reed, Jr., J., held that:
(1) government was not required to comply with NEPA before taking land into trust under Act;
(2) Act was not impermissible delegation of legislative authority; and
(3) Congress could acquire land for Indian reservation, and impose federal regulations therein, without consent of state.
Motion granted.

U.S. v. Chewey
2002 WL 2017142, Docket Nos. 01-7161 & 02-7025.
10th Cir.(Okla.), September 04, 2002
This case was not selected for publication in the Federal Reporter.

Subjects: Criminal Jurisdiction, Federal - Indian Country

*Synopsis: Petitioner convicted of second degree murder in Indian country and discharge of firearm during crime of violence sought habeas relief. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma dismissed petition and denied certificate of appealability (COA). Petitioner appealed.

*Holding: The Court of Appeals, Brorby, Senior Circuit Judge, held that Cherokee Nation's lack of consent to prosecution did not preclude federal court jurisdiction.
COA denied; appeal dismissed.

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