Doe v. Jesson, now Piper, Partially Survives Motion to Dismiss

Here. This is the federal case challenging the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act.

The Court finds that it has jurisdiction to hear the Does’ complaint, but only against the government defendants. The Court will dismiss Commissioner Moose from the case because he is a tribal officer and not a state officer; does not enforce MIFPA; and is not restricted by the constitutional clauses at issue here. But even though the Court may proceed to the merits of the Does’ complaint against the government defendants, the Court will not decide the merits now. The parties necessarily and understandably devoted nearly all of the briefs to the numerous preliminary issues. Although the jurisdictional questions were well briefed, the Does’ equal protection and due process claims received less attention than they deserved. Accordingly, in deciding these motions the Court will express no opinion on the merits – only on the preliminary matters. It may be that Defendants’ positions on the merits are correct – or incorrect – but those questions will be decided another day.

Federal Court Dismisses Title VII Action against Shakopee

Here are the materials in Nawls v. Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Gaming Enterprise – Mystic Lake Casino (D. Minn.):

17 Motion to Dismiss

32 Response

33 Reply

36 DCT Order

White Earth Nation/Honor the Earth Effort to Fight Enbridge Pipelines Fails

Here are the materials in White Earth Nation v. Kerry (D. Minn.):

71 Motion for Summary J

90 Enbridge Motion for Summary J

94 US Motion for Summary J

102 Plaintiff Opposition

103 US Reply

105 Enbridge Reply

113 DCT Order

Complaint here.

Latest District Court Memorandum and Order in Duluth v. Fond Du Lac

07 28 15 Nelson Decision

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.

Previous coverage here.

Federal Court Imposes $200K Appeal Bond on Wolfchild Appeal

Here are the relevant materials in Wolfchild v. Redwood County (D. Minn.):

208 Lower Sioux Community Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions

291 DCT Order

Materials on the court’s dismissal of the claim are here.

Fond du lac Band Prevails (Again) before Eighth Circuit in Gaming Compact Dispute

Here is the opinion in City of Duluth v. Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa II:

City of Duluth v. Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa 8th Circuit Decision

An excerpt:

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.

Contract Breach Complaint: Ceridian HCM Inc. v. Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

Here are the materials in Ceridian HCM, Inc. v. Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians (D. Minn.):

1 Complaint

5 DCT Order to Show Cause

An excerpt:

In the Complaint, Ceridian HCM alleged that it “is a Delaware corporation with its principal office” in Minnesota; that Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians “is a federally recognized Indian tribe” that has its principal office in California; that Chumash Casino Resort Enterprise “is an unincorporated business enterprise wholly owned by” Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians; and that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. It appears that jurisdiction under § 1332 does not exist because “Indian tribes are neither foreign states nor citizens of any state.” Gaming World Int’l, Ltd. v. White Earth Band of Chippewa Indians, 317 F.3d 840, 847 (8th Cir. 2003) (citations omitted); see Auto-Owners Ins. Co. v. Tribal Court of Spirit Lake Indian Reservation, 495 F.3d 1017, 1020-21 (8th Cir. 2007);Oglala Sioux Tribe v. C & W Enters., Inc., 487 F.3d 1129, 1130 n.2 (8th Cir. 2007).

The Court grants Ceridian HCM an opportunity to submit a memorandum of law that explains why this action should not be dismissed for lack for subject-matter jurisdiction. SeeHertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 94, 130 S. Ct. 1181, 175 L. Ed. 2d 1029 (2010) (“Courts have an independent obligation to determine whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists, even when no party challenges it.”); Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 506, 126 S. Ct. 1235, 163 L. Ed. 2d 1097 (2006) (“The objection that a federal court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction may be raised by a party, or by a court on its own initiative, at any stage in the litigation, even after trial and the entry of judgment.” (citation omitted)). Ceridian HCM shall file the memorandum within seven days of the date of this Order.

White Earth Nation Moves for Summary Judgment in Challenge to Two Oil Pipelines

Here is the motion in White Earth Nation v. Kerry (D. Minn.):

71 Motion for Summary J

We posted the complaint here.

Federal Court Applies Sherrill Defenses, Tribal Immunity to Dismiss Wolfchild Statutory Land Claims

Here is the order in Wolfchild v. Redwood County (D. Minn.):

196 DCT Order Granting Motion to Dismiss

An excerpt:

The Court finds no basis upon which to distinguish this case from those asserted in Sherrill or Stockbridge. It is clear that Plaintiffs’ claims flow from the 1863 Act. It is also clear that the land at issue here was sold to third parties no later than 1895. See Wolfchild IX, 731 F.3d at 1293. Plaintiffs’ claims are thus like those described in Stockbridge: “Indian land claims asserted generations after an alleged dispossession that are inherently disruptive of state and local governance and the settled expectations of current landowners and are subject to dismissal on the basis of laches, acquiescence, and impossibility.” Id. 756 F.3d at 165.

There is no language in Sherrill or Stockbridge that would limit the holdings of those decisions to claims based on aboriginal title.

Based on the particular characteristics and history of the claims at issue here, the Court finds that Plaintiffs’ claims are equitably barred. Application of the equitable bar set forth inSherrill does not require a balancing of equities between the parties. Instead, the equitable bar focuses on Plaintiffs’ delay in seeking relief, and the disruption that would result to settled and justified expectations regarding land ownership. Sherrill, 544 U.S. at 216‐17, 221(finding that “the Oneidasʹ long delay in seeking equitable relief against New York or its local units, and developments in the city of Sherrill spanning several generations, evoke the doctrines of laches, acquiescence, and impossibility, and render inequitable the piecemeal shift in governance this suit seeks unilaterally to initiate”).

Briefs are here.