Ninth Circuit Briefs in Navajo Nation Trust Breach Appeal re: Water Rights

Here are the briefs in Navajo Nation v. United States:

Lower court materials here.

Navajo Sues Interior over Failure to Approve 638 Compact re: Tribal Judiciary

Here is the complaint in Navajo Nation v. United States (D. D.C.):

1 Complaint

An excerpt:

This is an action for declaratory and injunctive relief and money damages brought against the Department and the Secretary for Defendants’ violations of the Indian  Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, P.L. 93-638, as amended and codified at  25 U.S.C. § 450 et seq. (“ISDEAA”), and regulations promulgated thereunder, and for  Defendants’ breach of a contract made under the ISDEAA with the Navajo Nation (“Nation”). The Nation submitted its annual funding agreement (“AFA”) proposal for operations of the Navajo Nation Judicial Branch for the 2014 calendar year (“CY 2014”) to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”), an agency of the United States Department of the Interior (“Department”), and the BIA failed to take the statutorily required action to approve or lawfully decline that proposal before the expiration of the 90-day period set forth in the ISDEAA and regulations promulgated thereunder. Therefore, as a matter of law, the CY 2014 AFA must be deemed approved as proposed by the Nation. Pursuant to the Contract Disputes Act, 41 U.S.C. § 7101 et seq. (“CDA”), and sections 110(a) and (d) of the ISDEAA, 25 U.S.C. § 450m-1(a) and (d), the Nation submitted to the BIA a claim seeking relief from the Defendants’ breaches of this deemed-approved contract (No. A12AV00698: the “Contract”) and CY 2014 AFA. The Contract and the CY 2014 AFA are collectively referred to herein as the “CY 2014 Agreement.” The BIA improperly disclaimed the authority to decide the Nation’s CDA claim and thereby denied it. The Nation brings this action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for Defendants’ violations of the ISDEAA and $15,762,985 in damages for their breach of the CY 2014 Agreement, plus statutory interest from January 3, 2014.

Federal Circuit Dismisses Navajo Takings Claim as Time-Barred

Here is the opinion in Navajo Nation v. United States.

An excerpt:

The Navajo Nation appeals a judgment of the United States Court of Federal Claims denying its claim seeking damages for an alleged Fifth Amendment taking of its right to develop land granted to it by the United States in 1934. See Navajo Nation v. United States, No. 88-CV-508 (Fed. Cl. July 13, 2009). Because we conclude that the claim is barred by the six-year statute of limitations set out in 28 U.S.C. § 2501, we vacate the judgment of the Court of Federal Claims and remand with instructions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.

And the materials:

Navajo Appellant Brief

US Appellee Brief in Navajo v US

Navajo Reply

Our earlier post on this was here.

Indian Country Should Look at Federal Circuit Vacancies

BLT reports that numerous vacancies will be opening soon on the Federal Circuit, which the writers refer to as “patent-heavy.”

That’s true, but the Circuit also hears a significant number of Indian law cases as well.

For example, the Circuit issued opinions in Tohono O’odham Nation v. U.S. and Wolfchild v. U.S. in 2009. And Navajo Nation v. United States (I and II), the Peabody Coal case that went to the SCT twice was a Federal Circuit case.

We suppose the patent bar will scream bloody murder if President Obama nominates an American Indian lawyer to this Circuit, but — who knows? — maybe it can be done.

Something to think about.