Justia Native American Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

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Ute Tribe member Todd Murray died on April 1, 2007, after a police pursuit. Murray’s parents Debra Jones and Arden Post, on behalf of themselves and Murray’s estate, brought a 13-count complaint in the district court alleging various constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. 1983, conspiracy to violate civil rights under 42 U.S.C. 1985, and state tort claims. Claims were brought in varying permutations against nine individual law enforcement officers, their employers, and a private mortuary (collectively, “Defendants”). Plaintiffs also sought sanctions against Defendants for alleged spoliation of evidence. The district court granted summary judgment to the mortuary on Plaintiffs’ emotional distress claim, and to all remaining Defendants on all federal claims. The court also dismissed as moot Plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment on the status of Indian lands, and denied Plaintiffs’ motion for spoliation sanctions. The district court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law torts after disposing of the emotional distress claim and the federal claims. Plaintiffs appealed all of these rulings in two appeals. The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court, but dismissed an appeal of the taxation of costs because it lacked appellate jurisdiction. View "Jones v. Norton" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs were descendants of the victims of the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre and brought suit for an accounting of the amounts they alleged the U.S. government held in trust for payment of reparations to their ancestors. Because the United States had not waived its sovereign immunity, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of this case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "Flute v. United States" on Justia Law