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Last updated: December 20, 2013

Please alert us to any cases we may have missed from the U.S. Federal Trial Court

Newest Cases:

See the 2014 bulletin.


2013 Cases:

December

The California Valley Miwok Tribe v. Jewell
2013 WL 6524636
Civil Action No. 11– CV– 00160 (BJR).
United States District Court, District of Columbia, Dec. 13, 2013

*Synopsis: Plaintiffs, as purported members of Indian tribe, brought action to challenge final decision of Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), which concluded, inter alia, that BIA could not compel tribe to expand its membership, that tribe's entire citizenship consisted solely of five individuals, and that prior resolution established General Council comprised of all adult citizens of tribe, with whom BIA could conduct government-to-government relations. Parties moved and cross-moved for summary judgment, and BIA-recognized tribal citizens intervened in support of government's motion.

* Holding: The District Court, Barbara Jacobs Rothstein, J., held that:
(1) BIA unreasonably assumed that tribal membership was limited to five individuals, and
(2) BIA unreasonably assumed that General Council constituted government of tribe.
Plaintiffs' motion granted.

Miccosukee Tribe of Indians v. Jewel
2013 WL 7158023
No. 13–22802–CIV.
United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Miami Division, Dec. 4, 2013

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action against the United States and several officials, asserting several claims arising out of ongoing disagreement and investigation between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and tribe concerning applicability of certain tax laws to tribe and its members' compliance with their federal tax obligations. Government moved to dismiss.

* Holding: The District Court, Donald L. Graham, J., held that:
(1) tribe's claims for breach of trust responsibilities, violations of tribe's equal protection rights, civil rights violations for vindictive enforcement, and abuse of process were construed as being against government;
(2) absent waiver of sovereign immunity, District Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over those claims;
(3) tribe failed to state a Bivens claim against IRS special agent; and
(4) amendment of tribe's complaint was futile, and dismissal with prejudice was warranted.
Motion granted.

November

United States v. Hemme
987 F.Supp.2d 940
Criminal No. 13-070 (4) (JRT/LIB).
United States District Court, D. Minnesota, November 25, 2013

*Synopsis: Defendant was indicted for violating Lacey Act by knowingly engaging in conduct that involved sale and purchase of fish in violation of Leech Lake Band's Conservation Code. Defendant moved to dismiss indictment.

* Holding: The District Court, John R. Tunheim, J., adopting Report and Recommendation of Leo I. Brisbois, United States Magistrate Judge, held that
(1) even if indictment could be dismissed based on sufficiency of evidence argument, indictment was based upon sufficient evidence such that case had to be presented to jury, and
(2) Magistrate Judge did not err in declining to consider facts outside indictment to conclude that defendant's indictment could be dismissed before trial.
Motion denied.

October

Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc. v. Lad du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
2013 WL 5803778
No. 13–cv–372–wmc.
United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin, Oct. 29, 2013

*Synopsis: Non-Indian brokerage firm and bondholders, which were involved in a commercial transaction with tribal economic development corporation, brought action seeking declaration that a tribal court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over them and an injunction preventing any further action by the tribe and its economic development corporation in a pending matter against them in that forum. Tribal defendants moved to dismiss.

*Holdings: The District Court, William M. Conley, J., held that:
(1) if forum selection clauses in documents created in connection with non-Indians' commercial transaction with tribal economic development corporation were valid, exhaustion of tribal remedies doctrine would not preclude federal court from exercising jurisdiction over the suit;
(2) tribal sovereign immunity did not preclude district court from resolving suit; and
(3) court would not decline to exercise declaratory jurisdiction over non-Indians' suit.

Yamassee Indian Tribe v. Allendale County Government
2013 WL 5797846
C/A No. 1:13–cv–1577–TLW.
United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Oct. 28, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "This action, brought by the pro se Plaintiff Yamassee Indian Tribe ( Tribe), alleges state and federal claims against the Defendants for actions taken regarding property the Tribe allegedly purchased at a tax sale. (Doc. # 1 at 1.) Before the Court are the Tribe's Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. # 3), "Motion for Writ of Federal Protection" (Doc. # 5), and "Motion for Writ of Seizure of Assets" (Doc. # 6). Additionally, the Court is presented with the question of whether the Tribe may appear pro se in this action. For the reasons stated below, the Court denies the Tribe's motions, and declines to rule at this time on the question of whether the Tribe may appear pro se."

*Holdings: (not yet available)

Jones v. Lummi Tribal Court
Briefs & Orders from Turtle Talk
No. C12– 1915JLR.
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Seattle, Oct. 22, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "More than 20 days have now passed since the court issued its September 30, 2013, order, and neither Mr. Jones nor Defendants have filed a timely response to the court's order to show cause. Because neither party has responded or challenged the analysis contained within the court's September 30, 2013, order, the court concludes, consistent with that order, that Lummi Tribal Court has jurisdiction to issue the domestic violence protection order at issue that placed the custody of M.J. temporarily with her mother, Jackie Rose Jones, under the VAWA. Accordingly, the court enters summary judgment in favor of Defendants and dismisses this action in its entirety."

*Holdings: (not yet available)

Trazell v. Wilmers
2013 WL 5593042
No. 12–01369 (ABJ).
United States District Court, D. Columbia, Oct. 11, 2013

*Synopsis: Car owner, a member of the Cherokee-Choctaw nation, brought action against bank, its director, and bank employee, alleging that defendants repossessed his vehicle in violation of Treaty of Watertown, Fourth and Fifth Amendments, several of his statutory rights, international resolutions, and District of Columbia Municipal Regulations. Defendants moved to dismiss and owner moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Amy Berman Jackson, J., held that:
(1) owner's complaint failed to state claim for violation of Treaty of Watertown;
(2) complaint failed to state claim for violation of Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause, and section 1983;
(3) complaint failed to state claim for violation of statute providing protection to foreign officials, official guests, and internationally protected persons from physical attack or imprisonment;
(4) complaint failed to state claim for violation of statue governing loans by a bank on its own stock;
(5) complaint stated claim for violation of municipal regulation requiring holder to retain or store repossessed vehicle for 15 days; and (6) genuine dispute of material fact existed as to whether defendants had valid security interest in owner's vehicle.
Defendants' motion granted in part and denied in part and owner's motion denied.

Duluth v. Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
2013 WL 5566172
No. 09–cv–2668 (SRN/LIB).
United States District Court, D. Minnesota, Oct. 8, 2013

*Synopsis: City sued band of Native American tribe, alleging breach of contractual obligations created when city and band agreed to establish casino in city's downtown, and also seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. After it was compelled to arbitrate amount of withheld taxes owed to city, tribe moved for relief from final order. The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, Susan Richard Nelson, J., entered summary judgment barring tribe from challenging agreement's validity, 708 F.Supp.2d 890, entered order compelling tribe to arbitrate amount of rent to be paid to city for extension term, 2011 WL 1832786, and granted in part and denied in part tribe's motion for relief, 830 F.Supp.2d 712. Tribe appealed.
The Court of Appeals, 702 F.3d 1147, affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. On remand, tribe moved for relief from judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Susan Richard Nelson, J., held that tribe was not entitled to relief from judgment requiring it to pay withheld rent to city.
Motion denied.

Hopi Tribe v. United States
2013 WL 5496957
No. 12–45 L.
United States Court of Federal Claims, Oct. 4, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Plaintiff, an Indian tribe, brought this suit to recover damages for breach of trust. The alleged breach consists of defendant's supposed failure to ensure that the water supply on plaintiff's reservation contains safe levels of arsenic. Before the court is defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, in which defendant asserts that plaintiff has failed to identify an applicable fiduciary duty. The central legal question in this case, therefore, concerns the precise scope of the federal government's duties as trustee with respect to Indian trusts. See generally United States v. Mitchell (Mitchell I), 445 U.S. 535 (1980). The answer to this inquiry has a long and sometimes acerbic pedigree. But there are some constants."

* Holding: (not yet available)

September

Federal Trade Commission v. Payday Financial, LLC
989 F.Supp.2d 799
No. CIV 11-3017-RAL.
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Signed Sept. 30, 2013

*Synopsis: Federal Trade Commission (FTC) brought action against Indian tribe member and nine limited liability companies (LLC) that allegedly operated with tribe member as a common enterprise, relating to loan and garnishment practices for sub-prime pay-day loans to off-reservation non-tribe borrowers, and asserting claims under the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act), the Credit Practices Rule, the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA), and Regulation E. FTC filed motion for summary judgment.

*Holding: The District Court, Roberto A. Lange, J., held that:
(1) fact issues existed as to common enterprise liability;
(2) loan agreements violated EFTA;
(3) wage assignment agreement violated Credit Practices Rule;
(4) another form of wage assignment agreement did not violate Credit Practices Rule;
(5) wage garnishment packets were deceptive; and
(6) disgorgement of interest, finance charges, and fees was appropriate remedy under FTC Act.
Motion granted in part and denied in part.

Jones v. Schneiderman
974 F.Supp.2d 322
No. 11 Civ. 8215(KMW)(GWG).
United States District Court, S.D. New York, September 30, 2013

*Synopsis: Organizers of professional mixed martial arts events, as well as professional mixed martial arts athletes, brought action against New York state attorney general and New York county district attorney alleging that statutory ban on combative sports violated their rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Defendants moved to dismiss.

*Holding: The District Court, Kimba M. Wood, J., held that:
(1) live-performance mixed martial arts were not expressive conduct;
(2) statute provision prohibiting profiting form combative sports was not overbroad;
(3) organizers and athletes stated a claim for vagueness as applied to competitors;
(4) statute was not vague as applied to bar owners and gym owners;
(5) statute was not facially vague; and
(6) statute did not violate dormant Commerce Clause.
Motion granted in part and denied in part.

Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida v. Cypress
975 F.Supp.2d 1298
Case No. 12-Civ-22439.
United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Sept. 30, 2013.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action alleging that former tribal chairman, director of finance, and chief financial officer, tribe's former attorneys, and investment firm violated Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and state law by embezzling tribal funds for their personal use, charging excessive fees, and managing tribe's funds in manner allowing suspicious financial transactions to occur. Defendants moved to dismiss.

*Holdings: The District Court, Marcia G. Cooke, J., held that action was intra-tribal dispute over which court lacked jurisdiction.
Motions granted.

Akiachak Native Community v. Jewell
2013 WL 5428741
Civil Action 06–969(RC).
United States District Court, District of Columbia, Sept. 30, 2013.

*Synopsis: Alaska Native and tribes brought action challenging Secretary of Interior's decision to leave in place regulation precluding Alaskan tribes from acquiring land in trust pursuant to Indian Reorganization Act (IRA). Alaska intervened. Parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Rudolph Contreras, J., held that:
(1) petitions to have land taken into trust were not "claims" within meaning of Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) provision extinguishing all claims;
(2) ANCSA's declaration of congressional purpose did not prohibit subsequent taking of additional lands into trust; and
(3) regulation was void.
Plaintiffs' motion granted.

Related News Stories: Judge deletes Alaska exception in land-into-trust regulations (Indianz.com) 10/2/13

Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians v. NY State Dep't of Financial Services
2013 WL 5460185
No. 13 Civ. 5930(RJS).
United States District Court, S.D. New York, Sept. 30, 2013.

*Synopsis: Federally recognized Indian tribes, limited liability companies owned by tribes, and tribes' internal regulatory bodies brought action to establish their right to market and sell short-term, high-interest loans to New York residents over the Internet. Tribes moved for preliminary injunction to prohibit State of New York from pursuing or threatening to pursue any activities, including enforcement actions, that directly or indirectly interfered with tribes' consumer lending activities or their lending business relationships.

*Holdings: The District Court, Richard J. Sullivan, J., held that:
(1) tribes and companies demonstrated standing to pursue action;
(2) tribes' lending conduct was subject to regulation by state; and (3) tribes failed to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of claims.
Motion denied.

City of Duluth v. Jewell
968 F.Supp.2d 281
Civil Action No. 12–1116 (CKK)
United States District Court, District of Columbia, Sept. 29, 2013

*Synopsis: City filed suit challenging Department of Interior's (DOI) decision to cancel casino property business lease between band of Indians and economic development commission due to notice of violation (NOV) issued by National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), determining that lease violated Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), NIGC regulations, and band's gaming ordinance. City moved to supplement administrative record.

* Holding: The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Colleen Kollar–Kotelly, J., held that:
(1) supplementation with NIGC's administrative record for NOV was not warranted;
(2) supplementation with unspecified potentially non-existent documents was not warranted;
(3) supplementation with administrative records from prior decisions was not warranted; and
(4) supplementation with internal memoranda was not warranted.
Motion denied.

Pueblo of Santa Ana v. Nash
Briefs from Turtle Talk
2013 WL 5366403
CIV No. 11-957 LH/LFG.
United States District Court, D. New Mexico, Sept. 25, 2013

*Synopsis: Tribal plaintiffs sought an order prohibiting a New Mexico District Court judge from exercising jurisdiction over pending wrongful death suit against tribal gaming enterprise based on its providing alcoholic beverages to intoxicated persons, and, a declaration that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) did not permit the shifting of jurisdiction from tribal courts to state courts over personal injury lawsuits brought against tribes or tribal gaming enterprises, for alleged wrongs arising or occurring within Indian country. Parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, C. LeRoy Hansen, Senior United States District Judge, held that IGRA did not authorize an allocation of jurisdiction from tribal court to state court over a personal injury claim arising from the allegedly negligent serving of alcohol on Indian land.
Plaintiffs' motion granted in part and denied in part.

Kickapoo Tribe of Indians of the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas v. Nemaha Brown Watershed Joint District No.7
294 F.R.D. 610
No. 06–CV–2248–CM–DJW.
United States District Court, D. Kansas, Sept. 23, 2013

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action against watershed district seeking declaratory relief, injunctive relief, compensatory damages, and specific performance regarding its water rights as to river and watershed. Tribe moved to compel district's responses to discovery.

* Holding: The District Court, David J. Waxse, United States Magistrate Judge, held that:
(1) district could not be compelled to produce documents in possession of former members of its board of directors, former staff, or former employees, and
(2) forensic mirror imaging of computers personally owned by district's current and former members, employees, and staff was not warranted.
Motion granted in part and denied in part.

Bear v. United States
2013 WL 5229997
No. 13–51X.
United States Court of Federal Claims, Sept. 17, 2013

*Synopsis: In Congressional reference case, government moved to dismiss trust-based claims asserted by members of Indian tribe on jurisdictional grounds, as being outside scope of reference.

*Holdings: The Court of Federal Claims, Wheeler, Hearing Officer, held that trust-based claims asserted by members of Indian tribe were not "legal claims that were pending in the Court of Federal Claims on the date of enactment" of bill referring to the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims certain matters relating to Indian tribe, and thus were not excluded from scope of Congressional reference.
Motion denied.

Yowell v. Abbey
2013 WL 5278772
No. 3:11–cv–518–RCJ–VPC.
United States District Court, D. Nevada, Sept. 16, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) " Currently before the Court is the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's reversal and remand of this Court's prior decisions in this case. . . . Plaintiff was a Shoshone Indian, ward of the United States, and a member of the Te–Moak Tribe of the Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada. (Id.). He was a cattle rancher. (Id.). Throughout his life, Plaintiff let his livestock graze on the "historic grazing lands associated with the South Fork Indian Reservation." (Id.). . . . In the 1990s, BLM alleged that Plaintiff was trespassing. (Id.). On May 24, 2002, Defendants assembled where Plaintiff's livestock were grazing, gathered Plaintiff's livestock, and seized the livestock without a warrant or court order for the seizure. (Id. at 7, 14). "

*Holdings: (not yet available)

No Casino in Plymouth v. U.S. Dep't of Interior
2013 WL 5159011
No. 2:12–cv–1748 TLN CKD.
United States District Court, E.D. California, Sept. 12, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) " The Bureau of Indian Affairs ("BIA") issued a Record of Decision ("ROD") on March 24, 2012, placing approximately 228 acres of land located near the city of Plymouth into trust on behalf of Applicant. Plaintiffs in this case request that the court vacate the ROD. Plaintiffs maintain that the Secretary of the Department of Interior "lacks the statutory authority to take title in trust to the parcel." (Pls.' Compl., ECF 2, ¶ 2.) Plaintiffs further allege that the "trust acquisition proposed by the Secretary in the ROD is intended to facilitate the construction of a major gambling casino" but "the [p]arcel is not eligible for Indian Gaming" because "The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) prohibits Indian gaming on land acquired after 1998 unless one of the statute's narrow exceptions apply." (Id. ¶ 3.)"

*Holdings: (not yet available)

California Valley Miwok Tribe v. Salazar
967 F.Supp.2d 84
Civil Action No. 11–00160 (BJR).
United States District Court, District of Columbia, Sept. 6, 2013

*Synopsis: Purported members of Indian tribe brought action to set aside Secretary of Interior's recognition of tribal government controlled by rival faction. Rival faction moved to intervene and to dismiss.

* Holding: The District Court, Barbara Jacobs Rothstein, J., held that:
(1) plaintiffs had standing to being action;
(2) court had federal question jurisdiction over action;
(3) Secretary's determination that five individuals were members of tribe did not trigger statute of limitations;
(4) Secretary's allegedly improper recognition of tribal government did not violate Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA);
(5) tribal sovereign immunity did not bar purported tribal members' claim; and
(6) joinder of rival faction was necessary.
Motions granted in part and denied in part.

LeBeau v. United States
2013 WL 4780079
Civ. No. 12–4178–KES.
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division, Sept. 5, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) " Plaintiffs are individual members of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. All are either a previous individual owner or an heir of a previous individual owner of land that was taken by the United States for the building of the Oahe Dam and Reservoir. Plaintiffs claim the United States holds money in trust for them under the Act and failure to safeguard their portion of the trust assets will deprive them of just compensation for the taking of their land under the Act. Plaintiffs also claim that the United States owes them a fiduciary duty to distribute a portion of the trust funds to them. By not disbursing a portion of the trust funds directly to plaintiffs and other individual land owners, plaintiffs argue the United States breached trust and fiduciary duties owed to plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also claim they are entitled to an accounting."

*Holdings: (not yet available)

August

Lummi Tribe of the Lummi Reservation v. United States
2013 WL 4572814
No. 08–848C.
United States Court of Federal Claims, Aug. 29, 2013

*Synopsis: Native-American tribe and several tribal housing authorities brought action, under Native American Housing Assistance and Self–Determination Act of 1996 (NAHASDA), seeking to recover grant funds initially paid to plaintiffs, but later recaptured by Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) when HUD determined that allocation formula was misapplied. Parties cross-moved for partial summary judgment on issue of validity of regulation establishing allocation formula.

*Holdings: The Court of Federal Claims, Wiese, Senior Judge, held that HUD reasonably interpreted NAHASDA so that it had authority to promulgate regulation withholding certain units from allocation formula.
Government's motion granted.

Luckerman v. Narragansett Tribe
965 F.Supp.2d 224
C.A. No. 13–185 S.
United States District Court, D. Rhode Island, Aug. 29, 2013
Opinion Denying Reconsideration Jan. 7, 2014.

*Synopsis: Attorney filed state court action alleging that Indian tribe failed to fully compensate him for his services. After removal, tribe moved to dismiss, and attorney moved to remand.

*Holdings: The District Court, William E. Smith, J., held that:
(1) tribe expressly waived its sovereign immunity by its conduct under one contract;
(2) tribe waived its sovereign immunity from suit arising from second contract;
(3) tribal exhaustion doctrine warranted stay of action; and, on tribe's motion to reconsider,
(4) District Court would not reconsider its decision.
Motions denied.

Shinnecock Indian Nation v. United States
2013 WL 4627179
No. 12–836 L.
United States Court of Federal Claims, Aug. 29, 2013

*Synopsis: Native-American tribe brought action against federal government, alleging that government, acting through federal court system, denied any and all judicial means of effective redress for unlawful taking of lands currently comprising New York town from tribe and its members. Government moved to dismiss tribe's claims as unripe and outside court's jurisdiction.

*Holdings: The Court of Federal Claims, Hewitt, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) tribe's claims were not ripe, in light of its pending district court case against government;
(2) Nonintercourse Act was not substantive source of law establishing specific fiduciary duties that government owed to tribe;
(3) federal common-law was not substantive source of law that could fairly be interpreted as mandating compensation by government for damages sustained;
(4) tribe's interest in Nonintercourse Act claim was not protected by Takings Clause; and
(5) government took no action that amounted to taking of tribe's Nonintercourse Act cause of action.
Motion granted.

Council for Tribal Employment Rights v. United States
2013 WL 4572625
No. 12–326C.
United States Court of Federal Claims, Aug. 27, 2013

*Synopsis: Intertribal nonprofit organization representing employment interests of Indian tribes sued United States, under Contract Disputes Act (CDA), seeking $500,000 in damages for alleged breach of two agreements, entered under Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDA) and involving organization, Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development, as component of Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Department of Interior, and Spirit Lake Tribe, and amending existing contract between Office and tribe, under American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Government moved to dismiss or, alternatively, for summary judgment, and organization moved for partial summary judgment as to its third-party beneficiary status in relation to agreements requiring organization to provide commercial construction training to eight tribes and one Alaska Native village, and to develop Indian preference certification programs for road construction activity for six tribes.

*Holdings: The Court of Federal Claims, Lettow, J., held that:
(1) claims were within Tucker Act jurisdiction;
(2) official who signed agreements lacked authority to bind government;
(3) agreements contravened ISDA;
(4) agreements were unenforceable;
(5) third-party beneficiary claim was not viable as to interagency agreement;
(6) third-party beneficiary claim was not viable as to self-determination agreements; and
(7) lack of implied-in-fact contract precluded quantum meruit recovery.
Defendant's motion granted; plaintiff's motion denied.

United States v. Bundy
966 F.Supp.2d 1175
No. CR–11–2432 MCA.
United States District Court, D. New Mexico, Aug. 26, 2013
As Corrected Oct. 18, 2013

*Synopsis: In second-degree murder prosecution arising out of fatal one-car accident, federal government filed motion in limine to introduce evidence of defendant's prior driving under the influence (DUI) conviction.

* Holding: The District Court, M. Christina Armijo, Chief Judge, held that:
(1) evidence could not be excluded based on its potential prejudicial impact, but
(2) defendant's prior guilty plea in tribal court to charge of driving under the influence (DUI) was not knowing and voluntary, and evidence of tribal court conviction could not be admitted in order to demonstrate requisite malice aforethought.
Motion denied.

Grand Canyon Skywalk Development, LLC v. Hualapai Indian Tribe of Arizona
966 F.Supp.2d 876
No. CV–13–08054–PCT–DGC.
United States District Court, D. Arizona, Aug. 20, 2013

*Synopsis: Indian tribe and seven named members of tribal council filed a motion to dismiss condemnee's complaint to compel arbitration of dispute arising from tribe's taking by eminent domain of contract rights to operate a skywalk and related facilities at the South rim of the Grand Canyon on Indian reservation. Tribe also moved to disqualify condemnee's counsel.

*Holdings: The District Court, David G. Campbell, J., held that:
(1) complaint did not raise federal question over which court had subject matter jurisdiction;
(2) even if court had federal question jurisdiction, exhaustion principles would apply, making amendment futile; and
(3) motion to disqualify opposing counsel was untimely.
Motion to dismiss granted; motion to disqualify denied.

Hanover Insurance Company v. Urban Outfitters
2013 WL 4433440
Civil Action No. 12–cv–3961.
United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania, Aug. 19, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "This suit stems from claims brought in the United States District Court of the District of New Mexico by the Navajo Nation against Urban Outfitters and its wholly-owned and controlled subsidiaries, entities, and retail brands (collectively "Urban Outfitters") for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition, false advertising, commercial practices laws violations, and for violation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. See Dkt. No. 30 Ex. 1 (Amended Complaint)1.FN1"

*Holdings: (not available)

Inetianbor v. Cashcall, Inc.
962 F.Supp.2d 1303
No. 13–60066–CIV.
United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Aug. 19, 2013

*Synopsis:Borrower brought action in state court against loan servicer, alleging that loan was paid in full, but servicer continued to report to credit reporting agencies that borrower had upcoming or late payments, and asserting claims for violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), defamation, and usury. Action was removed to federal court. The District Court, James I. Cohn, J., 2013 WL 2156836, denied plaintiff's motion to reconsider its prior grant of defendant's motion to compel arbitration. Plaintiff filed renewed motion to reopen and reconsider order compelling arbitration.

* Holding: The District Court, James I. Cohn, J., held that arbitration agreement was void.
Motion granted..

Apache Tribe of Oklahoma v. Brown
966 F.Supp.2d 1188
Case No. CIV–10–646–D.
United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma, Aug. 14, 2013

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action alleging that tribal member, law firms, attorneys, and bank violated Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) by utilizing fraudulent and illegal practices to conduct tribal business without proper authority from tribe. Defendants moved to dismiss.

* Holding: The District Court, Timothy D. DeGiusti, J., held that:
(1) defendants did not participate in association-in-fact enterprise;
(2) legal opinion provided by attorney and law firm could not form basis of bank, wire, and postal fraud claims;
(3) tribe failed to plead fraud claims with requisite particularity; and
(4) tribe was not entitled to conduct discovery to obtain necessary information to plead predicate acts of fraud with particularity.
Motions granted.

July

Board of Commissioners of Cherokee County, Kansas, v. Jewel
956 F.Supp.2d 116
Civil Action 08–317(RC).
United States District Court, District of Columbia, July 25, 2013.

*Synopsis: County board of commissioners brought action against Secretary of the Interior and Indian Tribe, seeking to invalidate the Secretary's acquisition of land under the Indian Land Consolidation Act used to construct and operate a tribal casino as violating the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and National Environmental Policy Act. Secretary moved to dismiss, or in the alternative for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Rudolph Contreras, J., held that:
(1) the IGRA does not require Secretary to determine gaming eligibility before acquisition;
(2) the IGRA does not require the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) to determine gaming eligibility of a parcel not named in a tribal ordinance or tribal-state compact;
(3) county suffered a concrete and actual injury from construction and operation of casino;
(4) county's increased road repair and public safety costs were fairly traceable to Secretary's acquisition of land for casino; and
(5) county did not demonstrate a substantial probability that the injuries it suffered would be redressed by reopening the Secretary's acquisition of land.
Motion granted.

Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma v. United States
111 Fed.Cl. 725
No. 12–529L.
United States Court of Federal Claims, July 16, 2013

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought claim against federal government, seeking money damages arising from government's alleged breach of fiduciary and trust obligations owed to tribe. Government moved for partial dismissal of complaint.

*Holdings: The Court of Federal Claims, Wheller, J., held that:
(1) tribe satisfied notice pleading requirement for claim alleging breach of fiduciary duty through mismanagement of tribe's trust accounts;
(2) tribe failed to identify any provision of law violated by government's deed of trust land to church;
(3) tribe's claims for losses due to mismanagement of trust funds accrued when Department of Interior accepted tribe's analysis as final accounting; and
(4) tribe's claim that government mismanaged natural resources on trust land was untimely. Motion granted in part and denied in part.

Tuttle v. Jewell
952 F.Supp.2d 203
Civil Action No. 13–365 (RMC)..
United States District Court, District of Columbia, July 9, 2013

*Synopsis: Lessee of land from Colorado River Indian Tribe brought action against department of the interior seeking to declare termination of his lease void ab initio. The department moved to transfer venue.

* Holding: The District Court, Rosemary M. Collyer, J., held that:
(1) action could have been brought in California, but
(2) interests of justice did not favor transfer.
Motion denied.

Mastro v. Seminole Tribe of Florida
2013 WL 3350567
No. 2:12–cv–411–FtM–38UAM
United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division, July 2, 2013.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) " Defendant, Seminole Tribe of Florida ("Tribe") is a federally recognized Native American tribe organized under Section 16 of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 ("Act"), as amended, 25 U.S.C. § 476, and doing business as Seminole Indian Casino ("Casino"). (Doc. # 28, p. 2). Plaintiff, Stephanie Mastro ("Mastro") was hired by the Casino on or about November 2008 as a card dealer. (Doc. # 20, p. 2). The Casino is wholly owned and operated by the Tribe on restricted tribal trust land in reservation status within the geographical confines of Collier County, Florida. (Doc. # 28, p. 2). The Casino was formed pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 ("IGRA"), 25 U.S.C. § 2701, et seq. Id. Mastro accuses Defendant of sexual harassment and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 ("FCRA"). Defendant moves to dismiss, arguing that tribal sovereign immunity prohibits this Court from exercising jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims. Plaintiff responds that under Title VII, Defendant is not cloaked with immunity, the Casino is a separate and distinct entity not subject to tribal immunity, and that even if sovereign immunity applies, Defendant has unequivocally waived its right to invoke its protections."

*Holdings: (from the opinion) "For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is granted."

U.S. v. Loera
2013 WL 3298169
No. 3:13 MJ 4039 PCT MEA.
United States District Court, D. Arizona, July 1, 2013.

*Synopsis: Defendant was charged with misdemeanor offense of assault by striking, beating, or wounding an Indian on tribal land, and he moved to dismiss on ground that he was “Indian” not subject to such a prosecution in federal court.

*Holdings: The District Court, Mark E. Aspey, United States Magistrate Judge, held that:
(1) while defendant barely satisfied "Indian blood" prong of test for Indian status, he did not satisfy "tribal or government recognition" prong, and thus did not qualify as "Indian," and
(2) term "Indian," as used in statute authorizing federal courts to exercise jurisdiction over prosecutions arising out of crimes committed by non-Indians against Indians in Indian country, was used in narrow sense, as referring to enrolled members of Indian tribe.
Motion denied.

June

New York v. Smith
952 F.Supp.2d 426
No. 13–CV–0428 (ADS)(GRB).
United States District Court, E.D. New York, June 28, 2013

*Synopsis: State charged member of Shinnecock tribe with misdemeanor possession of undersized bay scallops. After removal, state moved to remand.

* Holding: The District Court, Spatt, J., held that:
(1) state's prosecution of tribal member for misdemeanor possession of undersized bay scallops did not implicate federal statute providing for racial equality, and
(2) tribal member failed to establish that he was denied opportunity to enforce federal civil rights in state court.
Motion granted.

St. Germain v. U.S. Dept. of Interior
2013 WL 314833
No. C13–945RAJ.
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Seattle, June 19, 2013.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "This matter comes before the court on Plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order ("TRO"). Although Plaintiffs requested oral argument, the court finds that oral argument is not necessary. As the court will discuss later, oral argument is also not practical in light of Plaintiffs' delay in bringing this motion. For the reasons stated herein, the court DENIES the motion......the Council passed Resolution No. 13–38, which commenced proceedings to amend the Tribe's Constitution to remove a clause that grants membership in the Tribe to "[a]ny person who possesses at least one-fourth (1/4) degree Indian blood and who can prove Nooksack ancestry to any degree." Nooksack Const., Art. II, § 1(H).FN1 According to Plaintiffs, the disenrollment proceedings and constitutional amendment, if successful, would not only strip them (and 300 others) of Nooksack membership."

*Holdings: (not yet available)

KG Urban Enterpries, LLC v. Patrick
293 F.R.D. 42
Civil No. 11–12070–NMG.
United States District Court, D. Minnesota, June 6, 2013

*Synopsis: Casino development company brought action challenging provision of Massachusetts Act Establishing Expanded Gaming in the Commonwealth requiring the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to issue a request for a gaming license in a particular region if a mutually agreed-upon compact had not been negotiated by the governor and an Indian tribe or if such compact had not been approved by a particular date, alleging the provision unconstitutionally prevented it from competing for a commercial gaming license. The District Court, Nathaniel M. Gorton, J., 839 F.Supp.2d 388, denied the development company's motion for preliminary injunction and dismissed the complaint. The development company appealed. The Court of Appeals, Lynch, Chief Judge, 693 F.3d 1, affirmed in part, and vacated and remanded in part. Two federally recognized Indian tribes then moved to intervene.

*Holdings: The District Court, Gorton, J., held that:
(1) first tribe was not entitled to intervention as of right;
(2) first tribe was not entitled to permissive intervention; and
(3) second tribe was not a necessary party.
Motions denied.

Jicarilla Apache Nation v. United States
2013 WL 3212410
No. 02–25L
United States Court of Federal Claims, Filed Under Seal: June 4, 2013, Reissued: June 24, 2013.

*Synopsis: Native-American tribe brought action against federal government, seeking accounting and to recover for monetary losses and damages related to alleged breach of fiduciary duties by Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in mismanaging tribe's trust assets and other funds during specified time period.

*Holdings: The Court of Federal Claims Allegra, J., held that:
(1) BIA breached fiduciary duty to maximize trust income by prudent investment;
(2) tribe's general representations were insufficient to support finding of BIA breach based on failure to pool funds;
(3) burden of proof was on BIA to show propriety of disbursements from trust funds;
(4) BIA's untimely deposit of oil and gas royalties breached fiduciary duty as to trust;
(5) tribe's proposed investment model was reasonable basis for calculating damages of $21,015,651.45 on claim for failure to maximize trust income; and
(6) tribe was entitled to award of $1,840.54 on its claim for untimely deposit of oil and gas royalties.
Ordered accordingly.

Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians v. Rabobank
2013 WL 2434705
No. 1:13–cv–00609 LJO–MJS.
United States District Court, E.D. California, June 4, 2013.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "This case is an offshoot of an ongoing dispute between two factions within the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians (the "Tribe"), a federally recognized Indian Tribe. Doc. 1 ("Compl.") ¶ 1. Among other things, the Tribe, through the Chukchansi Economic Development Authority ("CEDA"), operates the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino, located in Coarsegold, California (the "Casino"). Id. ¶¶ 11, 23. To fund construction of the Casino, CEDA issued roughly $310 million in bonds. Hash Decl., Ex. F, Doc. 10–2 at 1–2. In 2012, CEDA restructured those debts by exchanging the original bonds for new ones issued under an Indenture Agreement between CEDA and Wells Fargo, National Association ("Wells Fargo"). Id. The Indenture Agreement required that CEDA deposit all revenues from the Casino's operation into deposit accounts at Rabobank, and also required that CEDA, Wells Fargo, and Rabobank execute a "Deposit Account Control Agreement" ("DACA"), which governs control of the Casino's accounts."

*Holdings: (not yet available)

May

Seneca Nation of Indians v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services
2013 WL 2255208
Civil Action No. 12–1494
United States District Court, District of Columbia, May 23, 2013.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "The Seneca Nation of Indians administers its own healthcare system through a self-determination contract with the Indian Health Service under the Indian Self–Determination and Education Assistance Act. The Nation submitted a contract amendment to the Indian Health Service to adjust the number of persons to be serviced under the contract and, as a result, to increase the funding provided to the Nation for fiscal years 2010 and 2011. IHS did not respond to the proposal within the 90 days as required by statute, and the Nation contends that its proposed amendment automatically became part of its contract with IHS upon the lack of a timely response. The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, of which IHS is a constituent part, disagrees. The parties have briefed cross-motions for summary judgment, and the matter is ripe for decision. For the reasons set forth below, the Nation's motion for summary judgment will be granted."

*Holdings: (not yet available)

Uniband, Inc. v. C.I.R.
140 T.C. No. 13
No. 4718–06
United States Tax Court,May 22, 2013

*Synopsis: Corporate taxpayer, a state-chartered corporation wholly owned by Indian tribe, petitioned for redetermination of income tax deficiency, arising from its attempt to file consolidated returns with another corporation wholly owned by tribe and its failure to claim Indian employment credits.

* Holding: The Tax Court, Gustafson, J., held that:
(1) Indian tribe had no inherent immunity from federal income tax;
(2) cited treaties did not exempt Indian tribes from federal income taxation;
(3) corporation was not integral part of tribe, and thus did not share tribe's exemption from federal income tax;
(4) corporation was not "arm of the tribe" or clothed in tribal immunity from federal income taxation;
(5) corporation lacked special character of "Section 17" corporations established under Indian Restoration Act;
(6) corporation was not part of affiliated group, precluding its entitlement to file consolidated return with another corporation owned by tribe; and
(7) plain language of relevant statutes disallowed corporation's claimed business expense deduction for wage and employee expenses.
Decision for IRS.

Tulalip Tribes of Washington v. Washington
2013 WL 2253668
No. C12–688 RAJ
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Seattle,May 22, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "This matter comes before the court on plaintiff the Tulalip Tribes of Washington's motion for summary judgment (Dkt.# 13) and defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment (Dkt.# 20). Plaintiff seeks a declaration that the State is in violation of the Tribal–State Compact, and an injunction requiring the State to execute an amendment with plaintiff incorporating Tulalip's proposed amendment. Defendant argues that Rule 19 requires dismissal, and that even if the case could proceed without joinder of other tribes, the plain language of the compact does not authorize the requested amendment. Having reviewed the memoranda, supporting documents, and the record herein, the court DENIES plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, and GRANTS defendants' crossmotion for summary judgment."

* Holding: (not yet available)

California ex rel. Harris v. Rose
2013 WL 2145968
No. CIV. S–13–0675 LKK/DAD.
United States District Court, E.D. California,May 15, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Plaintiff State of California initially sued defendant Darren Rose in Shasta County Superior Court, alleging that Rose violated state law by selling certain unregistered cigarette brands and by failing to properly collect & remit tobacco excise taxes. Rose removed the matter to this court, alleging federal question jurisdiction. California now moves to remand, and seeks an accompanying award of attorney's fees and costs if it prevails on this motion."

* Holding: (not yet available)

In re Neil's Mazel, Inc.
492 B.R. 620
No. 00–22010–dte
United States Bankruptcy Court, E.D. New York, May 14, 2013

*Synopsis: Alleged Indian tribe, which had not been recognized as such by federal government, filed second, successive motion to reopen Chapter 11 case filed by corporation from which it had purchased certain real property free and clear of all liens thereon.

* Holding: The Bankruptcy Court, Dorothy T. Eisenberg, J., held that:
(1) court would not revisit its prior denial of motion to reopen Chapter 11 case that had been commenced to facilitate sale of real property free and clear of liens to alleged Indian tribe;
(2) even assuming that alleged tribe had submitted valid grounds for bankruptcy court to grant its successive motion to reopen, this motion, having been filed on alleged tribe's behalf by non-attorney, was legal nullity; and
(3) bankruptcy court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, in Chapter 11 case that had been commenced to facilitate sale of real property free and clear of liens to alleged Indian tribe not recognized as such by federal government, to grant this alleged tribe federal acknowledgment as Indian tribe.
Motion denied.

Arizona v. Tohono O'odham Nation
2013 WL 1908378
No. CV–11–00296–PHX–DGC
United States District Court,D. Arizona, May 7, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Tohono O' odham Nation (the "Nation" plans to construct and operate a major casino on unincorporated land within the outer boundaries of the City of Glendale, Arizona, which is in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. The State of Arizona, the Gila River Indian Community, and the Salt River Pima–Maricopa Indian Community (collectively "Plaintiffs") argue that the proposed casino violates the 2002 Gaming Compact between the State of Arizona and the Nation ("the Compact"), and ask the Court to enjoin the casino's construction. The parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment, and the Court heard oral arguments on April 9, 2013. For reasons explained below, the Court will grant the Nation's motion for summary judgment on all but one of Plaintiffs' claims, and will require additional briefing on the remaining claim."

* Holding: (not yet available)

April

Thorpe v. Thorpe
2013 WL 1703572
Civil Action No. 3:CV–10–1317.
United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania, April 19, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Now, following the close of discovery, Plaintiffs seek summary judgment in their favor and a declaration that the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act applies to the Borough and the remains of Jim Thorpe. The Borough opposes Plaintiffs' motion and also requests summary judgment in its favor. The Borough argues that the Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain this action pursuant to the "probate exception" to federal jurisdiction. The Borough further asserts that it is not a "museum" under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act because it never received "Federal funds", or, alternatively, that Plaintiffs' claims are barred by the doctrine of laches."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Related News Stories: Jim Thorpe's remains can be moved to native land, court rules (The Inquistr) 4/20/13

Bristol Bay Area Health Corp. v. United States
110 Fed.Cl. 251
No. 07–725 C.
United States Court of Federal Claims, April 18, 2013

*Synopsis: Tribal organization that provided public health services to Alaska Natives and other eligible beneficiaries pursuant to agreements under Indian Self–Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) with Indian Health Service (IHS) brought action against United States, alleging that IHS breached agreements by underpaying it indirect contract support costs in seven fiscal years. Government moved to dismiss.

* Holding: The Court of Federal Claims, Sweeney, J., held that:
1 organization was not entitled to legal tolling of limitations period under Contract Disputes Act (CDA);
2 organization stated plausible claims for breach of contract; and
3 whether res judicata applied to bar certain claims could not be decided on motion to dismiss.
Motion denied.

Wyandotte Nation v. Salazar
939 F.Supp.2d 1137
Case No. 11–2656–JAR–DJW.
United States District Court, D. Kansas, April 10, 2013

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the Mandamus Act, seeking to compel Department of the Interior (DOI) to accept title to certain land in Kansas and hold it in trust for tribe. State of Kansas was permitted to intervene as of right, and parties cross-moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Julie A. Robinson, J., held that:
(1) DOI did not have a clear, non-discretionary duty to accept the lands purchased by the tribe into trust;
(2) factors weighed against finding that DOI's delay was unreasonable;
(3) Court would retain jurisdiction pending final agency action; and
(4) tribe's allegations failed to state claim for breach of a fiduciary duty.
Motions granted in part and denied in part.

Timbisha Shoshone Tribe v. U.S. Dep't of Interior
290 F.R.D. 589
No. 2:11–cv–00995–MCE–DAD.
United States District Court, E.D. California, April 9, 2013

*Synopsis: Members of Indian tribe brought action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against Department of the Interior (DOI) and others, alleging injuries suffered as result of two decisions of the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs with regard to ongoing tribal leadership dispute. Following dismissal, 282 F.R.D. 588, plaintiffs filed second amended complaint, realleging their five previous claims and adding sixth claim alleging an Administrative Procedure Act (APA) violation. Defendants moved to dismiss.

* Holding: The District Court, Morrison C. England, Jr., Chief Judge, held that:
(1) tribe and its elected council were entitled to sovereign immunity;
(2) tribe and elected council were indispensable parties; and
(3) leave to amend was not warranted.
Motion to dismiss granted without leave to amend.

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community v. Sebelius
291 F.R.D. 124
No. 2:12–cv–115.
United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division, April 5, 2013.

*Synopsis: In its action, under the Indian Self–Determination and Educational Assistance Act, alleging that Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Director of Indian Health Services (IHS) underpaid contract support costs for Indian tribe's health care system for two fiscal years, tribe moved for leave to file second amended complaint.

*Holdings: The District Court, Timothy P. Greeley, United States Magistrate Judge, held that tribe would not be allowed to amend complaint so as to add claims based on new theories.
Ordered accordingly.

March

Akiachak Native Community v. Salazar
Briefs from Turtle Talk
935 F.Supp.2d 195
Civil Action No. 06–969 (RC).
United States District Court, District of Columbia, March 31, 2013

*Synopsis: Alaska Native and tribes brought action challenging Secretary of Interior's decision to leave in place regulation precluding Alaskan tribes from acquiring land in trust pursuant to Indian Reorganization Act (IRA). Alaska intervened. Parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

* Holding: The District Court, Rudolph Contreras, J., held that:
(1) petitions to have land taken into trust were not "claims" within meaning of Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) provision extinguishing all claims;
(2) ANCSA's declaration of congressional purpose did not prohibit subsequent taking of additional lands into trust; and
(3) regulation was void.
Plaintiffs' motion granted.

Related News Stories: State appeals D.C. court's decision on Akiachak lands (Alaska Journal) 4/25/13. State attorney weighs in on tribal lands case (Alaska Public Radio) 4/9/13. Court decision has big implications for tribal lands (Alaska Public Media) 4/8/13.

Historic Eastern Pequots v. Salazar
934 F.Supp.2d 272
Civil Action No. 12–58 (EGS).
United States District Court, District of Columbia, March 31, 2013

*Synopsis: Group purporting to represent Indian tribe which had previously been denied federal recognition petitioned for review of Reconsidered Final Decision (RFD) of Department of the Interior (DOI) which made that determination. DOI moved to dismiss or to transfer.

* Holding: The District Court, Emmet G. Sullivan, J., held that:
1 group failed to meet its burden of establishing that it had standing to petition for review of RFD;
2 six year limitation period for claim under Administrative Procedure Act (APA) began to run upon publication of RFD;
3 APA did not provide Court with subject matter jurisdiction over tort claims; and
4 general jurisdictional statute did not provide Court with subject matter jurisdiction over tort claims.
Motion to dismiss granted.

Mitchell v. Seneca Nation of Indians
2013 WL 1337299
No. 12–CV–119–A.
United States District Court, W.D. New York, March 29, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "This action seeking habeas corpus relief under the Indian Civil Rights Act, 25 U.S.C. §§ 1301–03 ("ICRA"), was brought following issuance of a tribal resolution by defendant Seneca Nation of Indians ("Nation") that imposes serious restrictions on plaintiff Bergall Mitchell, III, a member of the Nation. The Nation and its co-defendants, a former President of the Nation and members of its Tribal Council who issued the tribal resolution, move pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) to dismiss the action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the ground that the restrictions imposed on Mitchell by the tribal resolution are not severe enough to satisfy the "custody" requirement of § 1303 and because Mitchell failed to exhaust tribal remedies."

* Holding: (not yet available)

United States v. Washington
2013 WL 1334391
No. CV 70–9213.
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Seattle, March 29, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "This matter was initiated by a Request for Determination ("Request") filed in 2001 by plaintiffs Suquamish Indian Tribe, Jamestown S'Klallam, Lower Elwha Band of Klallam, Port Gamble Clallam, Nisqually Indian Tribe, Nooksack Tribe, Sauk–Suiattle Tribe, Skokomish Indian Tribe, Squaxin Island Tribe, Stillaguamish Tribe, Upper Skagit Tribe, Tulalip Tribe, Lummi Indian Nation, Quinault Indian Nation, Puyallup Tribe, Hoh Tribe, Confederated Bands and Tribes of the Yakama Indian Nation, Quileute Indian Tribe, Makah Nation, and Swinomish Tribal Community, and Muckleshoot Indian Tribe (hereafter, "the Tribes"). Plaintiff United States of America joined in the request. The Request for Determination, filed pursuant to the Permanent Injunction in this case, asked the Court to find that the State of Washington has a treaty-based duty to preserve fish runs, and sought to compel the State to repair or replace culverts that impede salmon migration to or from spawning grounds."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Related News Stories: Court ruling a win for treaty rights (North County Outlook) 4/9/13

Shiprock Associated Schools, Inc. v. United States
934 F.Supp.2d 1311
Civil No. 11–cv–983 MV/WDS.
United States District Court, D. New Mexico, March 28, 2013

*Synopsis: Tribally Controlled Schools Act (TCSA) school brought action seeking an order requiring federal defendants to withdraw their disallowed cost determination, and a declaration that disallowance of the school's use of Indian School Equalization Program (ISEP) funds to pay for administrative costs was arbitrary and capricious, clearly erroneous and/or contrary to law, and that defendants' new policy on TCSA school administrative cost expenditures was not enforceable against the school. Defendants filed motion to dismiss.

* Holding: The District Court, Martha VÁzquez, J., held that TCSA, as reasonably and properly interpreted, allowed the school to use grant funds, including ISEP funds, to defray the costs of its necessary administrative functions, so long as those costs did not exceed its calculated need amount.
Motion denied.

Federal Trade Commission v. Payday Financial, LLC
935 F.Supp.2d 926
No. CIV 11–3017–RAL.
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Central Division, March 28, 2013

*Synopsis: Federal Trade Commission (FTC) brought action against Indian tribe member and member's South Dakota limited liability companies (LLC), alleging unfair and deceptive trade practices and other malfeasances in defendants' short-term "pay day" loan offerings to off-reservation non-tribe borrowers. Defendants filed motion for partial summary judgment.

* Holding: The District Court, Roberto A. Lange, J., held that fact issues precluded summary judgment for defendants based on exclusive tribal court jurisdiction.
Motion denied.

Villa v. Salazar
2013 WL 1245759
Civil Action No. 12–1086 (RMC).
United States District Court, District of Columbia, March 28, 2013

*Synopsis: California Indian tribe leader filed suit to enjoin Department of the Interior's acquisition in trust of a parcel of land in California for Indian gaming purposes, contending that Interior's decision to acquire the land was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Interior moved to transfer case to the Eastern District of California.

* Holding: The District Court, Rosemary M. Collyer, J., held that:
(1) although venue was proper in the District of Columbia, it was also proper in the Eastern District of California, and
(2) judicial economy and convenience favored transferring the case to the Eastern District of California.
Motion granted.

The Navajo Nation v. Urban Outfitters, Inc.
935 F.Supp.2d 1147
No. Civ. 12–195 LH/WDS.
United States District Court, D. New Mexico, March 26, 2013.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe, tribal corporation, and tribal instrumentality brought action against international retail company and its subsidiaries alleging infringement of its "NAVAJO" trademarks, trademark dilution, unfair competition, false advertising, commercial practices laws violations, and violation of Indian Arts and Crafts Act (IACA). Defendants moved to dismiss.

*Holdings: The District Court, C. Leroy Hansen, Senior Judge, held that:
(1) plaintiffs stated plausible Lanham Act trademark infringement claim;
(2) dismissal pursuant to nominative fair use doctrine was not warranted;
(3) fact issues remained as to whether tribe's mark was generic descriptor;
(4) fact issues remained as to whether tribe's mark was famous when used in connection with clothing and clothing accessories;
(5) companies' use of mark with their "Navajo Print Fabric Wrapped Flask" product was not sufficiently unwholesome or unsavory to support trademark dilution by tarnishment claim;
(6) plaintiffs stated plausible claims against companies under IACA; and
(7) plaintiffs had standing to bring claims under New Mexico Unfair Practices Act (NMUPA).
Motion granted in part and denied in part.

Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas v. United States
2013 WL 1279033
No. 2:12–CV–83–JRG–RSP.
United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Marshall Division, March 27, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "The Tribe identifies three asserted errors of law in the Report and Recommendation ("R & R"): (1) that the waiver of sovereign immunity in § 702 of the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA") is limited to actions brought under § 704; (2) that the Tribe's complaint constitutes a "programmatic challenge" not authorized by the APA; and (3) that the Mandamus Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1361, does not provide a waiver of sovereign immunity for this case."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Hansen v. Salazar
2013 WL 1192607
No. C08–0717–JCC.
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Seattle, March 22, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on their first cause of action (Dkt. No. 68), Defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 76), and Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on their second and third causes of action (Dkt. No. 96). Plaintiffs allege that Defendants' denial of Plaintiffs' petition for federal acknowledgment as an Indian tribe violated the Administrative Procedure Act and Plaintiffs' constitutional rights."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Cryer v. Spencer
2013 WL 1192354
Civil Action No. 11–11953–PBS.
United States District Court, D. Massachusetts, March 21, 2013

*Synopsis: State prisoner, claiming to be partially of Native American descent, brought pro se § 1983 action alleging that prison officials violated his First Amendment right to free exercise of his religion and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), as well as his rights under Massachusetts law. Defendants moved to dismiss.

* Holding: The District Court, Saris, Chief Judge, held that:
1 allegations were sufficient to state claim for violations of RLUIPA;
2 allegations were sufficient to state claim for violations of the First Amendment;
3 allegations were insufficient to state claim against one official, in his personal capacity, for violations of the First Amendment;
4 allegations were insufficient to state claim for a violation of the Massachusetts Constitution; and
5 allegations were sufficient to state claim for violations of Massachusetts statute prohibiting prisoners from being denied the free exercise of religious belief.
Motion allowed in part and denied in part.

Perez v. Consolidated Tribal Health Project
2013 WL 1191242
No. 12–5403–SC.
United States District Court, N.D. California, March 21, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Plaintiff Helen Perez ("Perez") brings this action in connection with an alleged slip-and-fall injury she sustained on the premises of Defendant Consolidated Tribal Health Project, Inc. ("Tribal Health"). Perez initially filed a complaint in Mendocino County Superior Court. The U.S. Attorney subsequently removed on the grounds that Tribal Health is funded pursuant to the Indian Self–Determination and Education Assistance Act ("ISDEAA"), 25 U.S .C. § 450 et seq., and thus Perez's claims are governed by the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b). ECF No. 1 (Notice of Removal ("NOR")). Perez now moves to remand the action back to state court. ... Perez's motion to remand is DENIED"

* Holding: (not yet available)

Allen v. Smith
2013 WL 950735
No. 12cv1668–WQH–KSC.
United States District Court, S.D. California, March 11, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "On July 3, 2012, twenty-seven former members of the Pala Band of Mission Indians ("Plaintiffs") filed a Complaint against Defendants, seeking monetary damages and declaratory and injunctive relief. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiffs assert the following claims for relief to remedy their disenrollment from the Pala Tribe: (1) conspiracy to interfere with civil rights, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3); (2) deprivation of equal rights under the law, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981; (3) conversion; (4) tortious interference with prospective economic advantage; (5) defamation; and (6) civil conspiracy. Id. at 56–61."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Kinlichee v. United States
929 F.Supp.2d 951
No. CV11–8038–PCT–JAT.
United States District Court, D. Arizona, March 11, 2013

*Synopsis: United States moved to dismiss wrongful death medical malpractice claims brought under Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).

* Holding: The District Court, James A. Teilborg, Senior Judge, held that:
1 plaintiffs' attorney presented sufficient evidence of his authority to represent claimants with respect to wrongful death claims under FTCA, and therefore satisfied proper presentment requirement for exhaustion of administrative remedies and federal court jurisdiction, and
2 plaintiffs were entitled to deem their administrative claims denied, for purposes of FTCA's exhaustion of administrative remedies requirement, where plaintiffs waited more than six months after presentment filing complaint in district court.

Saybrook Tax Exempt Investors, LLC v. Lake of Torches Economic Development Corporation
929 F.Supp.2d 859
No. 12–cv–255–wmc..
United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin, March 11, 2013.

*Synopsis: Purchasers of taxable gaming revenue bonds brought action against tribal corporation that issued bonds, intermediary brokerage firm that sold bonds, and law firm that opined on legality of bonds at time of sale, seeking to either enforce payment of bonds or to obtain other legal and equitable relief.

*Holdings: The District Court, William M. Conley, J., held that district court did not have federal question jurisdiction over action.
Dismissed.

Butler v. Fortunes Asian Cuisine
2013 WL 866492
No. 12cv2409 WQH (BLM).
United States District Court, S.D. California, March 6, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Plaintiff alleges that she suffered personal injuries as a result of eating food at Defendant's establishment. (ECF No. 1–1) ... Defendants assert that Plaintiff's claims “are completely pre-empted by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, 25 U.S.C. § 2701, et seq.” Id. at 2. ... Defendants assert that Plaintiff, “a patron of [Harrah's Rincon Casino and Resort], is a non-Indian who engaged in a consensual relationship with the Rincon Tribe on the reservation by voluntarily entering” Harrah's Rincon Casino and Resort. (ECF No. 4–1 at 12)."

* Holding: (not yet available)

February

Quechan Tribe of Fort Yuma Indian Reservation v. U.S. Dep't of Interior
2013 WL 755606
No. 12cv1167–GPC(PCL).
United States District Court, S.D. California, Feb. 27, 2013

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action alleging that Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) approval of record of decision (ROD) approving utility-scale wind power project violated National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Federal Land Policy and Management Policy Act (FLPMA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA), Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), and Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

* Holding: The District Court, Gonzalo P. Curiel, J., held that:
1 BLM adequately consulted with tribe prior to project's approval;
2 BLM did not act arbitrarily, capriciously, or abuse its discretion in allowing project on lands designated as Class L under FLPMA;
3 BLM did not act arbitrarily and capriciously when it made last minute change in project's visual resource management (VRM) class designation;
4 BLM did not act arbitrarily, capriciously or abuse its discretion when it determined that project would not result in unnecessary and undue degradation of public lands that qualified as traditional cultural property;
5 BLM did not violate NEPA by failing to analyze its six priority renewable energy projects in California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) in single environmental impact statement (EIS);
6 EIS adequately evaluated cumulative effect of past, present, and foreseeable projects; and
7 BLM did not violate ARPA.
Government's motion granted.

Inetianbor v. Cashcall, Inc.
see Aug. 2013 decision
2013 WL 563354
No. 13–60066–CIV–COHN/SELTZER.
United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Feb. 15, 2013

*Synopsis: Borrower brought action in state court against loan servicer, alleging that loan was paid in full, but servicer continued to report to credit reporting agencies that he borrower had upcoming or late payments, and asserting claims for violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), defamation, and usury. Action was removed to federal court. Plaintiff moved to remand, and defendant moved to compel arbitration.

* Holding: The District Court, James I. Cohn, J., held that:
1 removal was proper, and
2 dispute was subject to arbitration.
Defendant's motion granted, and plaintiff's motion denied.

Crow Tribal Housing Authority v. HUD
2013 WL 589621
No. CV–06–51–BLG–RFC.
United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division, Feb. 14, 2013

*Synopsis: Tribal housing authority brought action against the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) challenging HUD's action in recouping alleged overpayments of grant funds to the housing authority under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self–Determination Act (NAHASDA). Parties cross-moved for summary judgment.

* Holding: The District Court, Richard F. Cebull, J., held that:
1 HUD regulation, which disqualified block grant funding for housing units which were no longer owned or operated by a tribal housing authority, was consistent with NAHASDA, and
2 HUD acted arbitrarily and capriciously in not providing notice and hearing to housing authority prior to deciding to recoup alleged overpayments.
Motions granted in part, and denied in part.

Navajo Nation v. U.S. Dept. Interior
2013 WL 530302
CV–11–08205–PCT–PGR
United States District Court, D. Arizona, Feb. 12, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "The complaint, which seeks the immediate return of the human remains and cultural items through the plaintiff's requests for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleges violations of the Treaty of 1850 and the Treaty of 1858 (Count One), breach of fiduciary duty (Count Two), violation of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (Count Three), violation of the Constitution (Count Four), and violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (Count Five)."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Related News Stories: Judge: Navajo lawsuit over human remains premature (Ktar) 2/19/13

King Mountain Tobacco Company, Inc. v. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
2013 WL 526761
No. CV–11–3038–RMP.
United States District Court, E.D. Washington, Feb. 11, 2013

*Synopsis: Indian tribe, tribal corporation, and tribe member brought action seeking declaratory judgment that corporation was not subject to payment of excise taxes on tobacco products, injunction restraining Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau from preventing corporation from selling its products, and declaration that tribe was entitled to meaningful consultation and resolution of disputes with executive branch. After corporation and member were dismissed, tribe moved for partial summary judgment.

* Holding: The District Court, Rosanna Malouf Peterson, Chief Judge, held that:
1 application of federal excise tax to cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco was permissible under General Allotment Act, and
2 treaty did not exempt tribal corporation from excise taxes.
Motion denied.

Grand Canyon Skywalk Development, LLC v. ‘Sa’ Nyu Wa, Inc.
923 F.Supp.2d 1186
No. CV–12–08183–PCT–DGC.
United States Court of Federal Claims, Feb. 11, 2013.

*Synopsis: Operator of glass viewing bridge at rim of Grand Canyon on Indian reservation filed application for confirmation of arbitration award against tribal corporation. Corporation moved to vacate the award and dismiss the matter.

*Holdings: The District Court, David G. Campbell, J., held that:
(1) it had jurisdiction to enforce the arbitration award;
(2) tribal Constitution did not limit corporation's waiver of liability;
(3) court order was not required to commence arbitration;
(4) operator's breach of contract claim was not subject to tribe's eminent domain power; and
(5) tribe did not take operator's right to compel arbitration through eminent domain. Application granted and motion denied.

In re Barth
485 B.R. 919
Bankruptcy Nos. 09–36006, 10–34267, 10–38674.
Adversary Nos. 11–03233, 11–03234, 11–03235.

United States Bankruptcy Court, D. Minnesota, Feb. 11, 2013

*Synopsis: Chapter 7 trustee sought to compel turnover of monthly per capita payments that debtors would receive, in their capacity as members of Indian tribe.

* Holding: The Bankruptcy Court, Dennis D. O'Brien, J., held that, to determine whether, on date that their Chapter 7 petition was filed, the bankrupt members of Indian tribe had any legal or equitable interest in the monthly per capita payments that they would receive in future as their share of revenue from gaming at Indian casino, such that these future per capita payments were included in property of the estate, bankruptcy court had to look not to Minnesota state law, but to tribal law.
Summary judgment for defendants.

Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians v. Caballero
2013 WL 504808
No. 2:08–CV–03133–JAM–DAD.
United States District Court, E.D. California, Feb. 8, 2013

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) " THE COURT FURTHER FINDS THAT, as between the parties, the Tribe has superior rights to use the following marks in any format, regardless of spacing and capitalization, (collectively the "Marks"): "Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians," "Shingle Springs Rancheria," "Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Shingle Springs Rancheria (Verona Tract), California," "Red Hawk Casino," "Shingle Springs Miwok Tribe," "Shingle Springs Miwok Chief," "Shingle Springs Reservation," "Shingle Springs Indian Reservation," marks that consist of or include the terms "Shingle Springs" and "Band(s)," marks that consist of or include the terms "Shingle Springs" and "Miwok(s)," marks that consist of or include the terms "Shingle Springs" and "Indian(s)," and any other marks confusingly similar to "Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians," "Shingle Springs Rancheria," "Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Shingle Springs Rancheria (Verona Tract), California," or "Red Hawk Casino."

* Holding: (not yet available)

Redding Rancheria v. Salazar
881 F.Supp.2d 1104
Case No. 11–1493 SC.
United States District Court, N.D. California, Feb. 6, 2012.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe sued Department of Interior (DOI), challenging decision that, pursuant to DOI's regulations, tribe's parcels of undeveloped riverfront lands, located several miles outside tribe's reservation, were ineligible for gaming if DOI took parcels into trust by which parcels would become Indian lands under restored lands exception to Indian Gaming Regulatory Act's (IGRA) general prohibition against gaming on Indian lands taken into trust after date of IGRA's passage. Parties cross-moved for summary judgment."

*Holdings: The District Court, Samuel Conti, J., held that:
(1) Secretary of DOI was authorized to promulgate regulations implementing restored lands exception;
(2) regulations rested on permissible construction of restored lands exception;
(3) regulations did not contravene IGRA;
(4) regulations were reasonable as applied to tribe's parcels; and
(5) DOI did not breach fiduciary duty to tribe.
Defendant's motion granted.

January

Rosser v. Rosser III
2013 WL 372474
No. CIV–12–1024–C.
United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma, Jan. 30, 2013.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "First, the Plaintiff requests the Court to issue a writ of habeas corpus, ordering the return of her daughter, K.T., who she alleges is being illegally detained. Second, Plaintiff requests a declaratory judgment, determining that the Absentee Shawnee Tribal Court lacks jurisdiction over a non-member of its tribe in a divorce action filed by Plaintiff in the District Court of McClain County, State of Oklahoma. . . . Defendant John Rosser has filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), arguing that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for relief, in that she has failed to exhaust state and tribal court remedies."

*Holdings: (not yet available)

Villegas v. United States
2013 WL 791770
Briefs & Pleadings
No. CV–12–0001–EFS.
United States District Court, E.D. Washington, Jan. 30, 2013

*Synopsis: Enrolled member of federally-recognized Indian tribe brought action against Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other agencies and officials, alleging a Fifth Amendment Takings Clause claim, breach of contract and related fiduciary duties, fraud and constructive fraud, trespass and trespass to chattels, tortious damage to the environment, and numerous unspecified violations of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Federal defendants moved to dismiss the claims.

* Holding: The District Court, Edward F. Shea, Senior Judge, held that:
(1) as long as Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) remediation efforts at mine site continued, plaintiff could not seek a court-ordered preservation of uranium ore which was in part the subject of that remediation effort;
(2) request for declaratory judgment was within exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of Federal Claims;
(3) Tucker Act did not waive sovereign immunity for breach of contract claim;
(4) failure to exhaust administrative remedies barred Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA) claims; and
(5) plaintiff failed to sufficiently allege claims for Administrative Procedure Act (APA) violations.
Motion granted.

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action v. U.S. Dep't of the Navy
2013 WL 357509
No. 12–cv–1455. Dkts. Nos. 76, 78.
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Tacoma, Jan. 29, 2013.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "The Suquamish Tribe and the Port Gamble and Jamestown S'Klallam Tribes request reconsideration of the Court's Order Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction (Dkt.# 73)."

*Holdings: (not yet available)

Stand up for California! v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior
2013 WL 324035
Civil Action Nos. 12–2039 (BAH), 12–2071(BAH).
United States District Court, District of Columbia, Jan. 29, 2013.

*Synopsis: Individual citizens and community organizations and Indian tribe brought action against under the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA), the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), challenging the decision of the United States Department of the Interior to acquire a 305–acre parcel of land in California in trust on behalf of the intervenor-defendant Indian tribe and Interior's decision to allow gaming on the land in question. Government defendants filed motion to transfer venue, and plaintiff citizens and community organizations moved for preliminary injunction.

*Holdings: The District Court, Beryl A. Howell, J., held that:
1 interest of justice dictated that court not transfer the action;
2 movants were unlikely to succeed on the merits of their claims; and
3 movants failed to establish irreparable harm if injunction was not issued.
Motions denied

Wolfchild v. United States
108 Fed.Cl. 578
No. 03–2684L & No. 01–568L
United States Court of Federal Claims, Jan. 28, 2013.

*Synopsis: Lineal descendants of Mdewakanton Sioux who were loyal to United States during 1862 Sioux uprising in Minnesota sued United States for, inter alia, breach of fiduciary duty based upon government's management of property originally provided for benefit of loyal Mdewakanton. The Court of Federal Claims, 101 Fed.Cl. 54, directed entry of partial final judgment awarding $673,944 on statutory use-restriction claim, remitted and remanded task of determining eligible claimants to the Secretary of the Interior to effectuate distribution pursuant to Indian Tribal Judgment Funds Use or Distribution Act, and, 101 Fed.Cl. 92, denied government's motion for reconsideration. After the Department of the Interior began proceedings, government moved for stay or, alternatively, for extension of time to prepare distribution plan, plaintiffs moved for future judicial proceedings under court's remand rule, and intervening plaintiffs moved to compel Department to implement court's prior reimbursement order.

*Holdings: The Court of Federal Claims, Lettow, J., held that:
(1) government did not establish likelihood of success on the merits in seeking stay pending appeal;
(2) government did not show that it would be irreparably harmed absent stay pending appeal;
(3) extension of time for development of distribution plan was warranted;
(4) no basis existed for court to interject itself into Department proceedings to formulate distribution plan; and
(5) intervening plaintiffs were not entitled to interim reimbursement of costs and fees.
Ordered accordingly.

Native American Council of Tribes v. Weber
2013 WL 310633
Civ. No. 09–4182–KES..
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division, Jan. 25, 2013.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Plaintiffs, Native American Council of Tribes (NACT), Blaine Brings Plenty, and Clayton Creek, succeeded in a court trial against defendants, Douglas Weber and Dennis Kaemingk, showing that a complete ban of tobacco in Department of Correction (DOC) facilities violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA)."

*Holdings: (not yet available)

Related News Stories: Indian inmates in South Dakota win lawsuit [about religious tobacco use] (Indianz.com) 2/7/13

Seminole Nation of Oklahoma v. Salazar
2013 WL 230151
No. CIV–06–556–SPS.
United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma, Jan. 22, 2013.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "On July 20, 2011, the Dosar–Barkus Band, one of fourteen representative Bands that constitute the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, filed its Motion to Intervene alleging that it met the requirements for intervention of right under Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 24(a) or, in the alternative, permissive intervention under Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 24(b).FN1 [Docket No. 128]. More specifically, the Band claims that it possesses a "legal financial interest as beneficiaries to the judgment fund" and that the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and the Defendants "have both expressed their intention to exclude the Freedmen from settlement negotiations, and as well as exclude them from the distribution plan" of any monetary settlement the parties may eventually agree upon. See, [Docket No. 128–1], p. 7."

*Holdings: (not yet available)

Colombe v. Rosebud Sioux Tribe
2013 WL 211275
No. CIV 11–3002–RAL.
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Central Division, Jan. 18, 2013.

*Synopsis: Casino management company's principal brought action against Indian tribe, tribal court, and judge alleging that court lacked jurisdiction to determine that oral modification of casino management contract was invalid. Parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The District Court, Roberto A. Lange, J., held that tribal court had jurisdiction over matter.
Defendants' motion granted.

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation v. US Corps of Engineers
2013 WL 211278
No. CIV 11–3026–RAL..
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Central Division, Jan. 18, 2013.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe and tribe's chairman filed a complaint for declaratory, injunctive, and other relief from actions of Corps of Engineers (Corps) related to permits allowing adjacent landowner's construction of culverted farm road across a wetland adjacent to lake to provide access for livestock and equipment. Corps moved for partial dismissal.

*Holdings: The District Court, Roberto A. Lange, J., held that:
1 tribe's claims accrued, for limitations purposes, at time of public meeting discussing Clean Water Act (CWA) exemptions that had been determined, and permits that had been granted, or authorized;
2 grant of a permit was a final agency action subject to review; and
3 Corps did not have absolute agency discretion over finding Clean Water Act (CWA) exemptions and granting nationwide permits, and thus, to the extent that its exemptions and nationwide permit determinations were not time barred, those final determinations were subject to review, however, the Corps' decision not to modify, suspend or revoke those determinations subsequently was committed to the Corps' absolute discretion.
Motion granted in part and denied in part.

The Navajo Nation v. Urban Outfitters, Inc.
2013 WL 258414
No. Civ. 12–195 LH/WDS.
United States District Court, D. New Mexico, Jan. 16, 2013.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action against international retail company, alleging trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition, false advertising, commercial practices laws violations, and violation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. Company moved to transfer venue.

*Holdings: The District Court, C. Leroy Hansen, J., held that:
1 letters from defense counsel explaining why there was no basis for the entry of a preliminary injunction were not inadmissible settlement letters;
2 tribe's choice-of-forum factor weighed in favor of tribe; and
3 location of third-party witnesses did not weigh in favor of transfer.
Motion denied.

Related News Stories: Court rules Urban Outfitters trial will stay in New Mexico (Navajo Times) 1/24/13

Robinson Rancheria of Pomo Indians v. Salazar
2013 WL 146393
No. 12–cv–04885–SC.
United States District Court, N.D. California, Jan. 14, 2013.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "This matter arises out of a request by the Robinson Rancheria of Pomo Indians (the "Tribe") to the Bureau of Indian Affairs ("BIA") to call a "Secretarial election" to approve proposed amendments to the Tribe's constitution. The Tribe alleges that the Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior (the "Secretary") and the Regional Director of BIA (collectively, "Defendants") violated the Indian Reorganization Act ("IRA"), 25 U.S.C. § 476, by failing to call and conduct an election within ninety days of the receipt of the Tribe's request. ECF No. 1 ("Compl.") ¶¶ 17–18. Defendants now move to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). ECF No. 7 ("MTD")."

*Holdings: (not yet available)

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action v. U.S. Dep't of the Navy
2013 WL 146393
Nos. 12–cv–5537, 12–cv–1455.
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Tacoma, Jan. 11, 2013.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Plaintiffs challenge the Navy's decision to build the second wharf under the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA"), arguing that the Navy wrongly withheld certain information, that the Navy failed to consider a wide enough range of alternatives, that the Navy failed to fully discuss efforts at mitigating harm to protected species, and that the Navy's environmental analysis masks harm to salmon. The Suquamish Tribe further argues that the proposed wharf abrogates fishing rights secured to them by treaty and violates the Endangered Species Act ("ESA")."

*Holdings: (not yet available)

Fine Consulting, Inc. v. Rivera
2013 WL 142869
Civ No. 12–004 LH/RHS
United States District Court, D. New Mexico, Jan. 10, 2013.

*Synopsis: Providers of casino consulting and management services brought action against several officers of two tribal corporations, asserting claims for tortious interference with their consulting and employment agreements with the corporations. Officers moved to dismiss for failure to exhaust tribal remedies.

*Holdings: The District Court, C. Leroy Hansen, Senior District Judge, held that:
1 providers did not exhaust their remedies in tribal court;
2 consensual relationship exception to the Montana rule that inherent sovereign powers of an Indian tribe did not extend to the activities of nonmembers applied;
3 bad faith and delay tactics exception to tribal exhaustion rule did not apply;
4 futility exception to tribal exhaustion rule did not apply; and
5 District Court had no discretion not to defer to tribal court based on comity.
Motion granted.

Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida, Department of Revenue
2013 WL 118065
No. 12–62238–CIV.
United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Jan. 9, 2013.

*Synopsis: Indian tribe brought action challenging state's denial of its request for refund on motor fuel tax paid on fuel purchased off-reservation but used on tribal land to perform governmental services. State moved to dismiss complaint and to strike tribe's demand for jury trial

*Holdings: The District Court, James I. Cohn, J., held that:
1 Rooker–Feldman doctrine barred action, and
2 Tax Injunction Act barred action.
Motion granted.

Thlopthlocco Tribal Town v. Stidham
2013 WL 65234
No. 09–CV–527–JHP–FHM.
United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma, Jan. 3, 2013.

*Synopsis: (from the opinion) "Thlopthlocco is the plaintiff in the two lawsuits referenced in the Second Amended Complaint, which are pending before the Muscogee (Creek) Nation ("MCN") tribal courts. In the first lawsuit ("Anderson I"), Thlopthlocco seeks a declaratory judgment finding the members of the Thlopthlocco Business Committee ("the Business Committee"), which is Thlopthlocco's governing body, are the "lawful leaders of Thlopthlocco," and attempts to void certain actions by the individual defendants."

*Holdings: (not yet available)

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