Ninth Circuit Restores Navajo Nation’s Water Rights Trust Breach Suit

Here is the opinion in Navajo Nation v. Dept. of the Interior. Briefs here.

An excerpt:

Moreover, neither Morongo nor Gros Ventre nor Jicarilla involved claims to vindicate Winters rights, which provide the foundation of the Nation’s claim here. Unlike the plaintiffs in those cases, the Nation, in pointing to its reserved water rights, has identified specific treaty, statutory, and regulatory provisions that impose fiduciary obligations on Federal Appellees—namely, those provisions of the Nation’s various treaties and related statutes and executive orders that establish the Navajo Reservation and, under the long-established Winters doctrine, give rise to implied water rights to make the reservation viable.

                      *. *  *

We hold in particular that, under Winters, Federal Appellees have a duty to protect the Nation’s water supply that arises, in part, from specific provisions in the 1868 Treaty that contemplated farming by the members of the Reservation.

Update in Cherokee Nation Trust Breach Suit [Feds Must Comply with Full Discovery]

Here are the materials in Cherokee Nation v. Dept. of the Interior (D.D.C.):

54-1 Motion to Dismiss Common Law Claims

55-1 Federal Motion for Protective Order

57 Cherokee Response to 55

60 Cherokee Response to 54

62 Reply in Support of 55

63 Reply in Support of 54

68 Magistrate Report Denying 54

68 Magistrate Report

70 DCt Order Accepting 68

73 DCT Order Denying 55

Prior materials here.

Laguna and Jemez Pueblos Sue EPA over Clean Water Act Rules

Here is the complaint in Pueblo of Laguna v. Regan (D.N.M.):

1 Complaint

An excerpt:

13. The Agencies repealed the 2015 Clean Water Rule and then reversed their longstanding policy by promulgating a new, much narrower interpretation of the “waters of the United States.” Definition of “Waters of the United States” — Recodification of Pre-Existing Rules, 84 Fed. Reg. 56,626 (Oct. 22, 2019) [hereinafter the 2019 Repeal Rule]; The Navigable Waters Protection Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States,” 85 Fed. Reg. 22,250 (Apr. 21, 2020) [hereinafter the 2020 Navigable Waters Rule]. The 2020 Navigable Waters Rule follows the directive of Executive Order 13,778, but without due regard for established law.
14. The 2019 Repeal Rule and 2020 Navigable Waters Rule are inconsistent with both the CWA’s objective of “maintain[ing] the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters” and the Rapanos significant nexus test.
15. The 2019 Repeal Rule and the 2020 Navigable Waters Rule harm the Pueblos by removing federal CWA water pollution protections from many of the ephemeral streams and other waterbodies that sustain the Pueblos. These rules remove CWA protections from 79% to 97% of stream miles in the Pueblo of Laguna. These rules remove CWA protections from 94% of stream miles in the Jemez watershed and 87% of stream miles on Jemez Pueblo trust lands.
16. Where a waterbody is not determined to be a “water of the United States,” the Pueblos alone are left to establish and administer water pollution control programs at their own expense.

17. However, the Pueblos rely on the Agencies to implement nearly all of the CWA’s pollution programs on their behalf and do not have the financial or administrative resources or capacity to administer these programs themselves.

18. Further, both Pueblos rely on the federal jurisdiction of the CWA to protect themselves from upstream pollution.
19. For the Pueblos, high water quality is essential to day-to-day life, as well as
cultural and religious practices.

20. The removal of federal jurisdiction creates the imminent risk of the degradation and destruction of the Pueblos’ waters and would harm the Pueblos’ agriculture, as well as cultural and religious practices.

D.C. Circuit Rejects Property Owners Challenge to Tribal Regulation of Tribal Water Rights on Klamath River — Incidentally, the First Case Caption with Secretary Haaland’s Name

Here is the opinion in Hawkins v. Haaland.


Opening Brief

Answer Brief


Lower court materials.

Federal Court Refuses to Disturb Default Judgment in Newtok Village Leadership Dispute

Here are the materials in Newtok Village v. Patrick (D. Alaska):

65 Motion to Set Aside Default Judgment

69 Response

70 Reply

71 DCT Order

Prior post here.

Update (3/28/21):

73 Motion for Attorney Fees

74 Opposition

75 Reply

76 DCT Order Granting Motion for Atty Fees

Federal Claims Court Holds Osage Headright Owners’ Trust Claims Foreclosed by Osage Trust Settlement

Here are the materials in Fletcher v. United States (Fed. Cl.):

7 US Motion to Dismiss

10 Response

10-5 Jim Gray Declaration

10-7 Wilson Pipestem Declaration

15 US Motion to Strike

16 Reply in Support of 7

17 Response to 15

18 Reply in Support of 15

22 DCT Order

We posted the complaint here.