News Coverage of Indian Health Service Continued Recalcitrance to Pay Contract Support Costs to Alaska Natives


One quick note: the Begich letter is addressed to all CSC claims, not just Alaska tribal claims.

Federal Circuit Order IHS to Pay Contract Support Costs in Arctic Slope v. Sebelius (on Remand from SCT)

Here is the opinion.

Here is the Supreme Court’s GVR order.

Previous lower court order here.

United States Files Cert Petition in Sebelius v. Southern Ute: Another Contract Support Costs Petition


Sebelius v Southern Ute Petition

The government asks that this petition be held pending the outcome of the other petitions (Ramah Navajo Chapter and Arctic Slope).

SCT Relists Arctic Slope Native Assn. v. Sebelius Petition (Two Other Indian Law Petitions Denied)

We think. 🙂

Here is today’s order list.

The Supreme Court also denied cert in Evans v. Wapato Heritage and Begay v. United States, a case that the Ninth Circuit heard en banc.

SCOTUSBlog Petition of the Day (Yesterday): Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter


The petition of the day is:

Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter

Docket: 11-551
Issue(s): Whether the government is required to pay all of the contract support costs incurred by a tribal contractor under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, 25 U.S.C. § 450 et seq., where Congress has imposed an express statutory cap on the appropriations available to pay such costs and the Secretary cannot pay all such costs for all tribal contractors without exceeding the statutory cap.

Certiorari stage documents:

Government Acquiesces in Arctic Slope v. Sebelius Cert Petition

Here is that brief:

Government Response Brief

The government conceded a circuit split. The SG also states that the government will be filing a cert petition in a parallel case — Ramah Navajo Chapter v. Salazar — but perhaps since that case is a class action, the OSG argues that the Arctic Slope case would be a better vehicle.

Here is that petition:

Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter Cert Petition

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Files Amicus Brief in Support of Arctic Slope’s Cert Petition

Here is the brief:

Chamber of Commerce Amicus Brief FINAL

The cert petition is here. The Chamber of Commerce also filed an amicus brief supporting tribal interests in Cherokee Nation v. Leavitt.

Cert Petition in Arctic Slope v. Sebelius (II)

It will be interesting to see what the OSG does with this. The last time a circuit split developed in similar circumstances, the government brought a cert petition and essentially concurred with the tribal cert petition (Cherokee Nation v. Leavitt).

Here are the materials:

Arctic Slope 2 Pet (2011)

Arctic Slope II Pet Appendix

Here is the question presented:

Whether the Federal Circuit erred in holding, in direct conflict with the Tenth Circuit, that a government contractor which has fully performed its end of the bargain has no remedy when a government agency overcommits itself to other projects and, as a result, does not have enough money left in its annual appropriation to pay the contractor.

Here are the lower court materials.

And here are the materials in Ramah, the Tenth Circuit case that generates the circuit split.

Federal Circuit Rejects Arctic Slope Contract Claims

Here is the opinion in Arctic Slope Native Association v. Sebelius (Fed. Cir.).

An excerpt:

Arctic Slope Native Association (“ASNA”) filed suit against the Secretary of Health and Human Services (“Secretary”) for breach of contract, alleging that the government failed to pay ASNA’s so-called contract support costs shortfall for fiscal years 1999 and 2000.  The Secretary argued that the obligation to pay, under the contract and the statute, was subject to the availability of appropriations and that there were no available appropriations because Congress had provided that the appropriations available for the funding of contract support costs were “not to exceed” specified amounts.  The Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (“the Board”) granted summary judgment for the Secretary.  Arctic Slope Native Ass’n, Ltd. v. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs., CBCA 294-ISDA, et al., 09-2 BCA ¶ 34,281 (C.B.C.A. Oct. 1, 2009).  We affirm.