Cert Petition in Seneca Nation Citizen’s Treaty-Based Tax Immunity Claim

Here is the petition in Perkins v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue:

Perkins v. Commissioner Cert Petition

Question presented:

This Court is presented with a question of first impression, as to the taxability of income derived from the sale of sand and gravel, mined from treatyprotected land by an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation of Indians (“Seneca Nation”). Upon the granting of certiorari, the Court will examine the language in two federal treaties, promising not to disturb the “free use and enjoyment” of lands by the Seneca Nation and “their Indian friends residing thereon and united with them,” and protecting these lands “from all taxes” for any purpose. Treaty with the Six Nations (“Canandaigua Treaty”), art. III, Nov. 11, 1794, 7 Stat. 45; Treaty with the Senecas (“1842 Treaty”), art. 9th, May 20, 1842, 7 Stat. 590. Congress has explicitly stated the Internal Revenue Code “shall be applied to any taxpayer with due regard to any treaty obligation of the United States which applies to such taxpayer.” 26 U.S.C.A. § 894 (a)(1)(West).

The question presented is whether the United States Court of Appeals and the United States Tax Court have given “due regards” to the treaty obligations of the United States by finding these treaties had no textual support for an exemption from federal income tax applicable to an enrolled Seneca member whose income is derived from the
lands of the Seneca Nation. Perkins v. Comm’r, 970 F.3d 148, 162-67 (2d. Cir. 2020).

Lower court materials here.

Federal Court Allows Some Tobacco Business Claims in Dispute between Sac and Fox, Seneca, and Susanville Rancheria Companies

Here are the materials so far in Allegheny Capital Enterprises LLC v. Cox (W.D. N.Y.):

8 Amended Complaint

17-8 Motion to Dismiss

17-5 Arbitration Decision

21 Response

22 Reply

23 DCT Order

An excerpt:

This is a diversity action commenced by a corporate entity affiliated with the Sac and Fox of Oklahoma Tribe (doing business in the Seneca Nation in New York) and a partnership doing business in the Seneca Nation. They claim that Defendants, officers of affiliated corporations of the Susanville Indian Rancheria (a Native tribe in California, also referred to as “SIR”), made misrepresentations to Plaintiffs that led to Plaintiffs entering into the tobacco manufacturing and distribution contracts with one of the affiliated corporations. Defendants represented that they had the authority to waive tribal sovereign immunity for the affiliate corporation and that the affiliate in fact waived that immunity. After an alleged breach of these contracts, Plaintiffs lodged claims against one of the affiliate corporations, but the corporation successfully asserted that it did not waive its tribal sovereign immunity. Plaintiffs then commenced this action against the officers; they did not name the corporation as a Defendant.

Before this Court is Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss (Docket No. 17) the Amended Complaint on sovereign immunity, jurisdictional, and pleading grounds. For the reasons stated herein, Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss is granted in part (dismissing claims against Defendants Stacy Dixon and Jolene Robles for lack of personal jurisdiction), denied in part (denying other grounds asserted). After resolution of this motion, Plaintiffs retain claims against Defendant Gretchen Cox.

Second Circuit Holds Treaties Do Not Provide Tax Immunity for Individual Indian-Owned Business on Fee Lands

Here is the opinion in Perkins v. Commissioner: Opinion

Briefs:

Perkins Brief

Commissioner Brief

Reply

Tax court opinion here.

Related case materials here.

Federal Court Sets Seneca Member’s Tax Case for Trial

Here are the materials in Perkins v. United States (W.D.N.Y.):

60-1 US Motion for Summary J

62 Perkins Motion for Summary J

71 US Response

72 Perkins Response

77 US Reply

78 Motion for Leave to File Amicus Brief

78-1 Seneca Nation Amicus Brief

79 Perkins Reply

80 US Motion to Strike Amicus Brief

84 Magistrate Report

85 US Objection

86 Perkins Objection

90 US Response

91 Perkins Response

92 US Reply

96 Perkins Supplemental Brief

99 US Response to 96

100 DCT Order

Parallel Tax Court materials here.

Native Wholesale Supply v. California ex rel. Becerra Cert Petition

Here:

Native Wholesale Petition

Appendix

Questions presented:

1. Whether a contract for the purchase of goods entered into, and fully performed by, an Indian Tribe outside the exterior boundaries of the state in which the Tribe’s reservation is located can constitutionally subject the out of state vendor to the specific personal jurisdiction of the buyer’s state, under state laws purporting to regulate the sale of those goods in the buyer’s state.
2. Whether a state has specific personal jurisdiction to regulate a purchase of goods contract between an Indian on an Indian reservation outside the state and an Indian Tribe located within the state’s boundaries when the contract is performed on the
out of state Indian reservation.
3. Whether there is a constitutional or statutory right afforded to an Indian of one tribe to conduct business free from state regulation with an Indian of a different tribe, both of which are located in Indian country, under the Indian Commerce Clause.
4. Whether a tribally chartered corporation wholly owned by a member of a federally recognized Indian Tribe is an Indian for purposes of the protections afforded to Indians under federal law.

Lower court materials here.

Update:

Brief in Opposition

Reply

California COA Opinion in People ex rel. Becerra v. Native Wholesale Supply

Here:

People ex rel Becerra v NWS

Briefs:

Appellant Brief

State Answer Brief

Reply

NY Court of Appeals Affirms State Tax Collection Powers over Indian Retailers

Here is the opinion in White v. Scheiderman.

Briefs:

record on appeal

native outlet motion for leave to appeal

appellant brief

seneca nation amicus brief

cayuga nation amicus brief

state appellee brief

state response to tribal amici

reply brief

Federal Court Holds Feds Cannot Tax Proceeds Derived Directly from Indian Lands

Here are the materials in Perkins v. United States (W.D.N.Y.):

An excerpt:

This case presents what appears to be an issue of first impression: whether a treaty between the United States and Native Americans ensuring the free use and enjoyment of tribal land bars taxes on income derived directly from the land—here, the sale of gravel mined on the land. Although at least two circuit courts have suggested in dicta that “income derived directly from the land” might be exempt from taxation under such treaties, they did so to distinguish that scenario from cases where an exemption was sought for income earned in ways that do not relate to the land itself. See Lazore v. Comm’r, 11 F.3d 1180 (3d Cir. 1993); Hoptowit v. Comm’r, 709 F.2d 564 (9th Cir. 1983). This case presents the very issue about which those courts speculated. And for the reasons that follow, this Court agrees with their speculation and finds that the plaintiffs have plausibly stated a claim for relief under two treaties with the Native American Seneca Nation.