Court of Federal Claims Dismisses Pro Se Treaty Rights Claim

Here are the available materials in Walking Eagle v. United States (Fed. Cl.):

1 Complaint

14 DCT Order

The remaining pleadings are sealed.

An excerpt from the opinion:

Plaintiff, Clarence Walking Eagle, Jr., is a Sioux Native American in the Fort Peck Sioux Tribe and resides on Fort Peck in Brockton, Montana. Appearing pro se, he filed his complaint on August 8, 2016, seeking $10,000,000.00 in compensatory damages under various treaties and statutes due to, among other alleged wrongs, “being unlawfully alienated from the exclusive use and benefit of [his] trust land and exposed to foreign jurisdiction without consent for the benefit of non-Indian concerns for almost ninety-nine years.” Pl.’s Compl. ¶ 48. Plaintiff also seeks $10,000,000.00 in punitive damages and various forms of equitable relief, such as an order restraining state law enforcement agencies from exercising jurisdiction within the boundaries of Fort Peck.
On December 5, 2016, defendant filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, arguing that plaintiff’s claims accrued outside this court’s six-year statute of limitations and that plaintiff is precluded from bringing these claims due to his participation in the Cobell class-action settlement, which is described in more detail below. See Cobell v. Salazar, No. 96-1285(TFH), 2011 WL 10676927 (D.D.C. July 27, 2011); Def.’s Mot. to Dismiss (“Def.’s Mot.”) Ex. 4 (copy of the Cobell settlement agreement). We agree and deem oral argument on this motion unnecessary. Because we find that plaintiff’s claims accrued outside of this court’s six-year statute of limitations and that, in any event, plaintiff is precluded from bringing these claims due to the Cobell settlement agreement, we grant defendant’s motion to dismiss.

Gingold and Pearl: Tribute to Eloise Cobell

Dennis M. Gingold and M. Alexander Lowther (Pearl) have published “A Tribute to Eloise Cobell” in the Public Land & Resources Law Review.

The abstract:

Cobell v. Salazar, the landmark class-action case, and its settlement arise out of a painful period in American history. For more than a century, the government’s abuse of individual Indian trust beneficiaries has been documented in various government reports and has been debated in Congress, but nothing that Congress did or said stopped egregious breaches of trust committed by the executive branch. The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit noted that “[t]he General Accounting Office, Interior Department Inspector General, and Office of Management and Budget, among others, have all condemned the mismanagement of the Individual Indian Money trust accounts over the past twenty years.” Indeed, the government exploited the Individual Indian Trust as if those funds were its own, wholly disregarding both its statutory and common law trust obligations and the needs and interests of hundreds of thousands of impoverished Indians.

No one did anything to stop that abuse until Elouise Cobell stood up and told the government, “no more.” This Article relates the actions in equity taken by Elouise Cobell to compel the United States to conduct a full historical accounting of all IIM Trust funds, to correct and restate IIM account balances, to fix broken Trust management systems, and to undertake other critical trust reform measures to ensure prudent Trust Management, and examines its remarkable achievements.

Goodbear v. Cobell Cert Petition


Goodbear v Cobell Cert Petition

Questions presented:

I. Whether a settlement class action can be approved over timely objections interposed by class members when the single point of requisite commonality found by the D.C. Circuit is by definition not a common issue of law or fact applicable to all members of the class.

II. Whether a mandatory settlement class action can be approved over timely objections by a class member that she should be permitted to opt out of the settlement that provides for only a monetary payment?

Expect Cert Petition in Kim Craven Appeal to Cobell Settlement Next Week


Here are the musings of Ted Frank (Kim’s former attorney) on the D.C. Circuit decision.

UPDATE: Apparently, Rob C. at ICT has the draft, and published most of the details here.