Judge Approves Ramah Class Action Settlement

Ramah Final Approval Order Feb 24 2016

Ramah Final Approval Opinion Feb 24 2016

Dear Respected Tribal Leaders:

Earlier today, Judge Parker issued a final order approving the $940,000,000 Ramah class action settlement against the BIA.  We have attached the Order and Opinion. 

Congratulations to all of Indian Country!  It has been an honor and a privilege to be part of the team representing you and we look forward to implementing the settlement as quickly as possible.

As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions. 


Lloyd, Don, and Lia

Ramah Fairness Hearing Minutes

Hearing on Final Approval of Final Settlement Agreement (Doc. No. 1334) and on Application for Attorneys’ Fees and Costs (Doc. Nos. 1313 and 1335)

Things heat up on page 10 when attorneys call as a witness Professor Brian Fitzpatrick of Vanderbilt Law School to convince the court that 8.5% in attorney’s fees is fair when the Lodestar method would have awarded slightly less.  Ramah Class was awarded $940 million so that means $79 million will be fees.  Since class counsel spent just under 20,000 hours on the case the rate comes out to just under $4k/hour.  The court didn’t conduct its own Lodestar check.

Ramah Class Action Summary and Estimated Dollar Shares

To all members of the Ramah class: please read this notice carefully; it contains important information about a proposed final settlement agreement.

Summary Notice of Final Settlement in Ramah Navajo Chapter v. Jewell here.

Estimated Dollar Shares for Each Class Member here.

Link to many other documents including FAQ here.

Previous TurtleTalk coverage here.

Final Settlement Agreement in Ramah Navajo Chapter et. al. v. Jewell

Motion for preliminary approval and FSA here.

Plaintiffs’ press releases: Class Members Counsel, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Ramah Navajo Chapter, Pueblo of Zuni.

Previous Turtle Talk coverage here.

The $940 million settlement will satisfy any underpayment of contract support costs from 1994 to 2013 by the U.S. Government.

Government Acquiesces in Arctic Slope v. Sebelius Cert Petition

Here is that brief:

Government Response Brief

The government conceded a circuit split. The SG also states that the government will be filing a cert petition in a parallel case — Ramah Navajo Chapter v. Salazar — but perhaps since that case is a class action, the OSG argues that the Arctic Slope case would be a better vehicle.

Here is that petition:

Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter Cert Petition

Tenth Circuit Denies En Banc Petition in Ramah

Here is that order:

Order Denying Petition for Rehearing

And the briefs:

USA En Banc Petition

OST, Ramah, and Zuni Response

The panel opinion and briefs are available here.

And so the circuit split with the Federal Circuit is complete.

Cert Petition in Arctic Slope v. Sebelius (II)

It will be interesting to see what the OSG does with this. The last time a circuit split developed in similar circumstances, the government brought a cert petition and essentially concurred with the tribal cert petition (Cherokee Nation v. Leavitt).

Here are the materials:

Arctic Slope 2 Pet (2011)

Arctic Slope II Pet Appendix

Here is the question presented:

Whether the Federal Circuit erred in holding, in direct conflict with the Tenth Circuit, that a government contractor which has fully performed its end of the bargain has no remedy when a government agency overcommits itself to other projects and, as a result, does not have enough money left in its annual appropriation to pay the contractor.

Here are the lower court materials.

And here are the materials in Ramah, the Tenth Circuit case that generates the circuit split.

Tenth Circuit Victory for Tribes in Self-Determination Act Contract Support Costs Case

Here are the materials in Ramah Navajo Chapter v. Salazar:

Ramah Zuni Opinion

Tribal Opening Brief

NCAI Amicus Brief Ramah Zuni

Interior Answer Brief

Tribal Reply Brief