Federal Denies Summary Judgment in Quapaw Trust Claims

Here are the materials in Goodeagle v. United States (Fed. Cl.):

147-goodeagle-motion

155-1-us-motion

158-us-response-to-147

161-goodeagle-reply

162-goodeagle-response-to-155

172-us-reply

182-dct-order

An excerpt:

This case involves many significant claims against the United States for breaches of fiduciary duty, among other things. Both parties assert that multiple claims can be resolved through summary judgment. The Quapaw Tribe relies heavily on the claim that an accounting document known as the Quapaw Analysis is binding upon the Government, and thus asserts that its claims grounded on this document should be granted through summary judgment. The Government disputes the binding authority of the Quapaw Analysis entirely and asserts multiple defects in the Quapaw Tribe’s claims that bar it from recovery. As explained below, the Court finds that the Quapaw Analysis is binding as to its factual findings only, but not as to the valuation, extrapolation, and calculation models it contains to calculate damages. In addition, the Court finds no merit in any of the arguments for summary judgment presented by the Government. For these reasons, Plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment regarding the Quapaw Analysis is GRANTED IN PART, but in all other respects, the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment are DENIED.

Prior postings here.

Federal Court Orders Interior/Justice to Redo Discovery in Trust Breach Suit; Too “Document Dump”-Like

Here is the order in Goodeagle v. United States (Fed. Cl.):

106 Motion for Discovery Relief

109 Opposition

112 Reply

116 DCT Order

We’ve posted on Goodeagle here and here.

Goodeagle Plaintiffs May Sue for Pre-1994 IIM Trust Account Breach

Here are the materials in Goodeagle v. United States (Fed. Cl.):

90-1 US Motion for Partial Summary J

94 Goodeagle Cross Motion

96 US Reply

97 Goodeagle Reply

103 DCT Order

Some Claims against US Dismissed in Quapaw Tribal Members Trust Breach Action

Here are the materials in Goodeagle v. United States (Fed. Cl.):

DCT Order

US Partial Motion to Dismiss

Goodeagle Response

US Reply

An excerpt:

Plaintiffs in this case are Grace M. Goodeagle, Thomas Charles Bear, Edwina Faye Busby, Phyllis Romick Kerrick, Jean Ann Lambert, Florence Whitecrow Mathews, A rdi na Revard Moore, Tamara Anne Romick Parker, and Fran Wood, all of whom are enrolled members of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma. Plaintiffs commenced this action on June 28, 2012 by filing a complaint for money damages arising from Defendant’s alleged breach of fiduciary and trust obligations owed to the Quapaw Tribe and its members. The complaint contains eight causes of action.

On August 27, 2012, Defendant filed a motion for partial dismissal of the complaint, asserting that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction or that Plaintiffs had failed to state claims upon which relief can be granted. In the alternative, Defendant requested that the Court order Plaintiffs to file a more definite statement of their claims. Defendant limited its motion to the third, fifth, sixth, and eighth causes of action, and did not challenge the first, second, fourth, and seventh causes of action. Plaintiffs filed an opposition to Defendant’s motion on November 26, 2012, and Defendant filed a reply on December 23, 2012. The Court heard oral argument on June 4, 2013.

For the reasons explained below, Plaintiffs’ complaint generally meets the notice pleading requirements of Rule 8 of the Court of Federal Claims (“RCFC”) to show “a short and plain statement” of the basis for jurisdiction and Plaintiffs’ claims, as well as a demand for the relief sought. Thus, the Court denies Defendant’s request for Plaintiffs to file a more definite statement of their claims as to the third cause of action. The Court grants Defendant’s motion to the extent the third cause of action is meant to apply to more than losses under actual leases. That cause of action is not timely as to “hypothetical leases” where town lots might have been leased but were not. The Court grants Defendant’s motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ fifth cause of action, as the consequential harm to Plaintiffs’ land from the mining activities does not constitute a continuing trespass, and therefore the claim is untimely. Similarly, Plaintiffs’ sixth cause of action alleges mismanagement of trust assets, and also is untimely. Finally, the Court finds that Plaintiffs’ eighth cause of action is not ripe for adjudication, and therefore dismisses it without prejudice.

Government Moves to Dismiss Goodeagle v. U.S. under SCt’s Decision in Tohono O’odham

Here is that motion:

US Motion to Dismiss Goodeagle Claims

An excerpt:

It is now well-established that this Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction to entertain a suit if the plaintiff has a suit in another court based upon substantially the same operative facts. Plaintiffs’ instant Complaint and the class action, currently pending before the District Court for the District of Columbia (“District Court”), Cobell, et al. v. Salazar, et al., No. 96-cv-1285, have asserted claims based on substantially the same operative facts. Thus, Congress, under 28 U.S.C. § 1500, has explicitly deprived this Court of jurisdiction to entertain a case containing claims that are for or in respect to claims which Plaintiffs have asserted in another pending case.

We reported the complaint here.

Goodeagle v. U.S. — Complaint for Trust Damages for Mismanagement of Quapaw Assets

Here is that complaint, filed in the Court of Federal Claims: Goodeagle v. US Complaint

An excerpt:

This is a lawsuit for money damages arising from Defendant’s breach of fiduciary and trust obligations owing to Plaintiffs, Grace M. Goodeagle, Thomas Charles Bear, Edwina Faye Busby, James E. Gilmore, Jean Ann Lambert, Florence Whitecrow Mathews, Ardina Revard Moore, and Fran Wood, and the class they represent, all of whom are enrolled Members of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma (O-Gah-Pah), a federally recognized Indian nation. The claims arise from Defendant’s failure to properly manage amounts due and owing to the Quapaw Tribal members under leases, permits, and agreements and government actions or inactions relating to certain real property, personal property (including chat severed from the surface and mineral estate by mining), mineral rights, as well as other sums due and owing to them by operation of law. These claims also arise from Defendant’s serious and sustained mismanagement of the Quapaw Tribal members’ Individual Indian Money Accounts, trust accounts, and other monetary assets. These claims also arise from Defendant’s similar mismanagement of the natural resources and other assets on Quapaw Tribal members’ trust/restricted lands, including but not limited to the mismanagement arising from federally managed mining activities on Quapaw Tribal members’ land, resulting in the destruction of natural resources and the environment, including the ability of Tribal members to use the land and other resources for grazing or agricultural or any other economically beneficial purpose.

An accounting of Defendant’s historical management of Quapaw trust assets — as set forth in a report known as the Quapaw Analysis — recently was completed and accepted as final by the Office of Historical Trust Accounting of the United States Department of the Interior. That accounting report, the product of a settlement of a previous suit for an equitable accounting, identifies and details Defendant’s mismanagement of numerous sampled Tribal and individual Tribal member trust assets, including but not limited to Defendant’s failure to collect monies due and owing under leases, permits, and agreements for the Quapaw Tribe and for the restricted interest holders of 13 allotments and of the class they represent, the degradation of the natural resources on the land and the environment, and the waste and dissipation of other trust assets, all of which was the result of mismanagement and negligence by the Defendant. The substantive law governing the United States’ trust responsibilities that were breached in this case may be fairly interpreted as mandating monetary compensation for damages sustained as a result of the breach of those duties.