Tenth Circuit Holds Feds Prevailed in FTCA Matter Involving S. Ute Police Action

Here is the unpublished opinion in Martinez v. United States.


Federal Answer Brief

Federal Supp. Brief re Discretionary Function

Opening Brief

Appellant Supp. Brief re Discrectionary Function


Friday Job Announcements

Job vacancies are posted on Friday. Some announcements might still appear throughout the week. If you would like your Indian law or leadership job posted on Turtle Talk, please email indigenous@law.msu.edu.

Southern Ute Indian Tribe

Legal Department Director, Ignacio, C.O. Will lead a well-established staff of three Tribal Attorneys, a Deputy Director, and a Legal Assistant. Position closes at 5:00 pm Mountain Standard Time on 12/18/2017.

Native American Program of Legal Aid Services of Oregon (NAPOLS)

Tribal Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program Specialist, limited-duration, Portland, O.R. Will work with the Burns Paiute Tribe to strengthen the Tribe’s response to DV, SA, dating violence, and stalking.

Havasupai Tribe

Chief Judge, Supai, A.Z. Presides over a broad range of civil and criminal cases for the Havasupai Tribal Court.

Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa

Associate Judge, Tama, I.A. Responsible for fairly and impartially hearing and deciding judicial cases and matters at the Trial Court level within the jurisdiction of the Sac and Fox Tribal Court pursuant to the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa tribal laws, codes, rules and regulations.

Morongo Band of Mission Indians

Tribal Attorney, Banning, C.A. Represents the interests of the Morongo Tribe, Morongo Tribal Government, Morongo Tribal Administration, and Morongo Tribal programs, including but not limited to direct representation in tribal and state court of Morongo Tribal government / programmatic interests as directed by the In House General Counsel.

Sitka Tribe of Alaska

Family Law Attorney, Sitka, A.K. Provides holistic legal representation to Native American victims of domestic violence and sexual assault – Salary DOE –  Full-time benefitted. Grant-funded position that will begin in January 2018 and continue for approximately three years. Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to naomi.palosaari@sitkatribe-nsn.gov or by mail to Sitka Tribe of Alaska, 456 Katlian St., Sitka, AK 99835. Electronic applications preferred. First review November 27th, 2017.

Ho-Chunk Nation

Tribal Attorney, Black River Falls, W.I. Performs a wide variety of legal work representing the Nation as a government, its departments, boards, and commissions. The Tribal Attorney will prepare pleadings for hearings and other legal proceedings, perform legal research, provide court representation; and other duties as assigned. Applicants may visit the Ho-Chunk nation website to apply.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Associate, Native American Affairs Group, Washington, D.C. Seeking to hire an associate with 1-3 years of experience and a background or interest in Indian law and litigation.

Department of the Interior

Supervisory-Attorney Adviser, Federal and Indian Royalties Section, Office of the Solicitor, Lakewood, C.O. Oversees the provision of legal services to the offices and programs of the ONRR with particular emphasis on legal issues related to the appropriate interpretation and implementation of the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act of 1982 (FOGRMA), codified as amended at 30 U.S.C. §§ 1701 et seq., and what is commonly known as the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, codified as amended at 30 U.S.C. §§ 181 et seq.

Other jobs posted this week:

Alaska Fellow, Native American Rights Fund (11/29/2017)

Previous Friday Job Announcements: 11/17/2017

Trust Breach Claims by Nine Tribes Survives Motion to Dismiss

Here are the materials in Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate v. Jewell (D.C. District Court):

17 Amended Complaint

19 US Motion to Dismiss

22 Opposition

23 US Reply

27 DCT Order

Colorado SCT Water Rights Ruling

Here is the opinion in Pawnee Well Users Inc. v. Wolfe (Colo.).

The court’s summary:

2013 CO 67. No. 12SA13. Pawnee Well Users, Inc.v. Wolfe, State Engineer.
Ground Water Regulation—Administrative Law and Procedure—Rules, Regulations, and Other Policymaking—Judicial Review of Administrative Proceedings.

The Supreme Court held that the water court erred in invalidating a basin-specific rule of the final Produced Nontributary Ground Water Rules (Final Rules) known as the Fruitland Rule, based on a stipulated agreement between the State Engineer and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. Another Final Rule—known as the Tribal Rule—states: “These Rules and regulations shall not be construed to establish the jurisdiction of either the State of Colorado or the Southern Ute Indian Tribe over nontributary ground water within the boundaries of the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.”

The Tribal Rule does not and cannot divest the State Engineer of his authority to promulgate the Final Rules governing water extracted during oil and gas production throughout the state, including nontributary groundwater. By passing HB 1303, the General Assembly authorized the State Engineer to adopt rules to assist with the administration of nontributary ground water extracted in the course of coalbed methane production and other oil and gas development in Colorado, thus authorizing the State Engineer to promulgate the Fruitland Rule. Because administrative agencies powers and duties as given by the legislature, the State Engineer cannot establish or disestablish his own jurisdiction.

Further, because the Fruitland Rule was issued pursuant to the authority granted in HB 1303—authority that was not divested by the Tribal Rule—it follows that the water court erred in labeling the Fruitland Rule an “advisory” rule and requiring the State Engineer to obtain a judicial determination that he had authority to administer nontributary ground water within the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Reservation’s boundaries. The Court therefore reversed the water court’s order and remanded the case for further proceedings.

NPR on Slow Pace of Criminal Justice Reform in Indian Country

Here. Via the excellent North Dakota Supreme Court site.

An excerpt:

The Hopi of northern Arizona were among the first in the nation to increase criminal sentences under the law. The tribe spent 18 months updating criminal codes to create a new class of felonies that could result in more jail time for convicted offenders.

Few tribes have put together all the pieces required to boost jail time, but progress is being made on other fronts. The Southern Utes in Colorado are now contracting with the federal government to hold detainees. On South Dakota’s Rosebud Sioux reservation, tribal officials worked with the U.S. attorney’s office to create a diversion program to keep juveniles out of trouble.

In Montana, special teams made up of tribal and federal officials were established last summer to investigate sexual assault cases.

Tribal Employee Suit against Tribal Insurer: Tribal Court Jurisdiction Issues in New Case

Here are the materials in Herrera v. Alliant Specialty Insurance Services (D. Colo.):

Alliant Notice of Removal to Federal Court

Alliant Removal Notice Exhibit

Alliant Motion to Dismiss

Herrera Response

Alliant Reply

DCT Order Concerning Motion to Dismiss

From the order:

In this case the plaintiff alleges that she was employed by the Southern Ute Tribe and the Southern Ute Tribe Growth Fund. However, she does not specify whether her employment was within or outside the confines of the reservation. The defendants seem to assume that the plaintiff’s employment was within the confines of the reservation. However, the defendants do not provide any declarations or other evidence to support this assumption. The locus of the plaintiff’s employment is a potentially pivotal jurisdictional fact.

The issues outlined above relate directly to the court’s subject matter jurisdiction. Those issues must be resolved before the court may address other issues presented in the motion to dismiss. Thus, I deny the motion without prejudice and grant  [8] the defendants an opportunity to file a renewed motion that addressing the issue of subject matter jurisdiction. To the extent specific facts are relevant to the determination of the court’s subject matter jurisdiction, I note that the “court has wide discretion to allow affidavits, other documents, and a limited evidentiary hearing to resolve disputed jurisdictional facts under Rule 12(b)(1).” Holt v. United States, 46 F.3d 1000, 1003 (10th Cir. 1995). If the defendants choose to file a renewed motion to dismiss, I direct the defendants to address the scope and limits of tribal jurisdiction, as outlined in Montana v. U.S., 450 U.S. 544, 565 (1981), MacArthur v. San Juan County, 497 F.3d 1057, 1068 (10th cir. 2007), and related cases. Of course, the analysis of this issue must be focused on the jurisdictional facts of this case.

Suit for Royalties in Southern Ute Well Dismissed under Rule 19

Here are the materials in Three Stars Prod. Co. v. BP America (D. Colo.):

DCT Order Dismissing under Rule 19

BP America Rule 19 Motion

Three Stars Response

BP Reply

Leadership Turmoil at Southern Ute

From the Durango Herald:

Months of simmering controversy have erupted into full turmoil within one of the nation’s wealthiest Native American tribes, tribal members said Wednesday.

Two executive officers for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe have resigned, and Tribal Chairman Matthew Box reportedly will resign before week’s end.

“We have some major issues we have to overcome with our tribal government,” said Ray C. Frost, a tribal elder.

Frost was among more than 50 tribal members and one Tribal Council member who gathered Wednesday night to discuss several jarring leadership and personnel changes made in recent weeks within the tribe’s government and businesses.

A resignation letter from Executive Officer Johnny Valdez was circulated at the meeting. Valdez resigned Wednesday.

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce my leaving the Executive Officer position as of midnight tonight,” Valdez’s letter said.

The letter did not give a reason for his sudden departure.

The tribe’s co-executive officer, Andrew Frost, resigned last week. Tribal officials in the executive and tribal information offices declined to comment or provide The Durango Herald with information about that resignation.

And a spokesperson for one Tribal Council member at the meeting Wednesday said the council requested Box’s resignation Monday. He is expected to tender his resignation by Friday.

Several other key leaders in tribal government and businesses also were terminated, suspended or have resigned in recent weeks and months.

Meanwhile, claims of mismanagement of tribal government and business affairs, misappropriation of funds, secrecy and violations of the tribe’s constitution, governmental and personnel policies have continued to surface.

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