Federal Circuit Allows Osage Headright Owners’ Money Damages Claim for Breach of Trust to Proceed

Here is the opinion in Fletcher v. United States. An excerpt:

Plaintiffs William Fletcher, Tara Damron, Richard Longsinger, and Kathryn Redcorn, individual holders of Osage headrights, filed suit against the United States in the Court of Federal Claims (Claims Court) seeking damages resulting from breach of fiduciary duties relating to royalties from the Osage mineral estate. Fletcher v. United States, 151 Fed. Cl. 487 (2020) (Claims Court Decision). Because the Claims Court incorrectly concluded that the plaintiffs had no standing and had failed to identify a source of money-mandating obligation as required under the Tucker Act, we reverse the dismissal of the complaint. We also vacate the Claims Court’s decision on the availability of a damages accounting and the striking of declarations.

Briefs here.

Delegation composing the Council of the Osage Indian tribe of Oklahoma in Wash. to confer with Secy. Work and Commissioner of Indian Affairs Burke to take up the question of leasing oil lands in the Osage reservation

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.

US Granted 18 Months to Complete Osage Headright Trust Accounting

Here are the updated materials in Fletcher v. United States (N.D. Okla.):

1285 US Motion to Alter Judgment

1289 Fletcher Motion to Alter Judgment

1294 US Response

1295 Fletcher Response

1304 Fletcher Reply

1305 US Reply

1306 DCT Order

Underlying order here.

Feds Owe Duty to Account to Individual Osage Headright Owners

Here are the materials in Fletcher v. United States (N.D. Okla.):

1262 Fletcher Brief on the Merits

1266 Federal Response Brief on the Merits

1274 Fletcher Reply

1280 DCT Order

Federal Court Certifies Class in Osage Headrights Accounting Suit

Here are the new materials in Fletcher v. United States (N.D. Okla.):

1148 Motion to Certify Class

1154 US Response

1196 DCT Order Certifying Class

This case is on remand from the Tenth Circuit; post here.

Tenth Circuit Rules in Favoring of Trust Accounting Claims of Osage Headright Holders

Here are the materials in Fletcher v. United States:

CA10 Opinion

Fletcher Opening Brief

Interior Answer Brief

Fletcher Reply Brief

An excerpt:

After settlers displaced the Osage Nation from its native lands, the federal government shunted the tribe onto the open prairie in Indian Territory, part of what later became the State of Oklahoma. At the time, the government had no idea those grasslands were to prove a great deal more fertile than they appeared. Only years later did the Osages’ mammoth reserves of oil and gas make themselves known. When that happened, the federal government appropriated for itself the role of trustee, overseeing the collection of royalty income and its distribution to tribal members. That role continues to this day. In  this lawsuit, tribal members seek an accounting to determine whether the federal  government has fulfilled the fiduciary obligations it chose to assume. The district court
dismissed the tribal members’ claims. We reverse.

Lower court materials here and here.