Here is the opinion in Confederated Chehalis Tribes v. Thurston County (W.D. Wash.) — DCT Order Denying Chehalis Motion for Summary Judgment (briefs are here, and an earlier opinion is here).
n this case, the Court is not persuaded that the rule of Rickert applies to bar the taxation in question because this case involves a significantly different factual scenario. Although the site in Grand Mound is held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the Tribe, the Lessee, CTGW, owns the improvements in fee during the terms of the Lease. Moreover, it cannot be said that the improvements are “occupied” by the Tribe as CTGW currently uses the improvements to operate a hotel, conference center, and indoor water park. Therefore, the Rickert rule that was implemented to protect a homestead and associated livestock is, in this Court’s opinion, inapplicable to privately owned commercial business ventures even though the improvements are on land held in trust by the United States.