Given the significant weight that is to be placed on this factor, the Court finds that it tips the balance in favor of granting the Band retrospective relief under Rule 60(b)(6). Although (1) the parties voluntarily agreed to the Consent Decree, (2) the NIGC initially endorsed the Agreements, and (3) the NIGC may lack authority to punish the Band for its compliance with the Consent Decree, those factors are outweighed by (4) the strong congressional intent that tribes be the primary beneficiaries of gaming revenues, (5) the fact that the Band’s obligation to pay rent under the Agreements is now considered—by the agency tasked with making such determinations—to violate that intent, and (6) the fact that the City was aware of the NIGC’s changing viewpoint on the subject matter. Accordingly, the Band is relieved from its obligation to pay to the City the rent withheld in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Here is the opinion in City of Duluth v. Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa II:
We remand to the district court for its reconsideration of the Band’s Rule 60(b)(6) motion and direct it to consider all of the factors outlined here and in our prior remand order. Accordingly, the district court must give proper weight to the congressional intent that tribes be the primary beneficiaries of Indian gaming as well as other relevant factors we have previously identified. These include the facts that the City was on notice in 2009 of relevant actions and policies of the Gaming Commission and its warning in the 2011 Notice of Violation that the tribe would violate IGRA by making further rent payments to the city. As discussed in our prior City of Duluth opinion, such change in the governing law is also relevant to the question of whether an exceptional circumstance compels a grant of Rule 60(b)(6) relief. City of Duluth, 702 F.3d at 1154-55; see In re Pac. Far E. Lines, Inc., 889 F.2d 242 (9th Cir. 1989).
Briefs are here.
Here are the materials in City of Duluth v. Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (D. Minn.):
Complaint was posted here.
Here are the materials in this iteration of City of Duluth v. Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (D. Minn.):
News coverage here.
This case is on remand from the Eighth Circuit; materials here.
The City has a pending matter against the NIGC here.
Here are the materials in City of Duluth v. Fond Du Lac Band of Chippewa:
From the court’s summary:
Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. A binding adjudication by a federal agency, which has been tasked with interpreting and enforcing a statute enacted by Congress, represents a change in the law for the purposes of Rule 60(b); here, the National Indian Gaming Commission’s decision that the agreement between the parties concerning the operation of a casino was in violation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act made illegal what the earlier consent decree between the parties was designed to enforce, and the district court did not err in deciding to grant prospective relief from continued enforcement of the 1994 consent decree by dissolving the decree as it related to the years 2011-2036; the district court erred in concluding that it could not grant retrospective relief under Rule 60(b)(6) and its ruling denying retrospective relief on rent payments from 2009 to 2011 is reversed, and the question remanded for further consideration.
Lower court materials here.
Here are the materials in City of Duluth v. Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (D. Minn.):
Update: via Indianz, here is the Minnesota Public Radio news coverage.
Fond du Lac Band had asked for a continuance to allow the National Indian Gaming Commission to weigh in on the agreement with the City of Duluth. No go. Here are the materials in City of Duluth v. Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (D. Minn.):
Prior summary judgment materials favoring the City are here.