Articles Posted in U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals

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The 1868 Laramie Treaty, between tribes of Sioux Indians and the United States, included provisions that: “If bad men among the whites, or among other people subject to the authority of the United States, shall commit any wrong upon the person or property of the Indians, the United States will, upon proof ... proceed at once to cause the offender to be arrested and punished ... and also reimburse the injured person....”´and “If bad men among the Indians shall commit a wrong or depredation upon ...anyone ... subject to the authority of the United States ... the Indians ... will ... deliver up the wrong-doer ... the person injured shall be reimbursed ... from the annuities or other moneys due.” In 2008, two members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe were killed on the Pine Ridge Reservation by a non-Sioux, who was driving while intoxicated. The Claims Court dismissed a claim for reimbursement under the treaties. The Federal Circuit vacated. The “bad men” provisions are not limited to persons acting for or on behalf of the U.S. View "Richard v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Tribes share an interest in a Wyoming Reservation. Consolidated suits, filed in 1979, claimed that the government breached fiduciary and statutory duties by mismanaging the Reservation's natural resources and income derived from exploitation of those resources. The Court of Federal Claims divided the suit into phases. One addressed sand and gravel and has been settled. The other two phases were devoted to oil and gas issues. An issue concerning the Government's failure to collect royalties after October, 1973 has been resolved. The final phase concerned pre-1973 oil and gas royalty collection and a series of discrete oil-and-gas issues. In 2007, the court granted the government judgment on the pleadings, finding that the claim was not filed within six years of the date on which it first accrued. The Federal Circuit vacated, finding that the claim asserted a continuing trespass, so that the Tribes can seek damages for trespasses which occurred within six years of the filing of this suit and all trespasses that occurred after the filing of this suit. The Tribes must establish that the government had a duty to eject trespassers from the parcels. View "Shoshone Indian Tribe v. United States" on Justia Law

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Since 2001 the company has provided professional training, curriculum development, and technical assistance to schools, teachers, and administrators to schools run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The BIA funds its program directly through BIA contracts with a provider and indirectly through distribution of funds under the No Child Left Behind Act, 20 U.S.C. 6301, to BIA schools, which contract with a provider. The company sought payment from the BIA for specific time periods. The Civilian Board of Contract Appeals dismissed, finding that it did not have jurisdiction under the Contract Disputes Act, 41 U.S.C. 601, because the company failed to establish that it had a contract with the government for the unpaid services. The Federal Circuit vacated, in part, dismissal on jurisdictional grounds. Failure to establish the existence of a contract meant that the company failed to state an element of its claim, not that the court lacked jurisdiction. Questions of fact concerning some of the claimed contracts remain unresolved. View "Engage Learning, Inc. v. Salazar" on Justia Law

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The Court of Federal Claims dismissed, for lack of jurisdiction, the most recent claims brought by the Samish Indian Nation in its continuing quest for federal recognition and benefits. The claims court reasoned that some of the allegations were not premised upon any statute that was money-mandating, and that allegations reliant on money-mandating statutes were limited by other statutes, so that they fell outside the scope of the Tucker Act (28 U.S.C. 1491(a)) and the Indian Tucker Act (28 U.S.C. 1505). The Federal Circuit affirmed with respect to some of the allegations because the Tribal Priority Allocation system (25 CFR 46.2) is not money-mandating. The court reversed dismissal of claims under the Revenue Sharing Act, reasoning that the court's ability to provide a monetary remedy under that law is not limited by operation of the Anti-Deficiency Act, 31 U.S.C. 1341. View "Samish Indian Nation v. United States" on Justia Law

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A 1935 settlement gives the tribe specific irrigation rights in the Gila River. The government filed another water rights claim on behalf of the tribe in 1979, resulting in a 2006 Arizona Supreme Court decree that the 1935 decree resolved all of the tribe's rights under all theories and that federal court was the proper forum for interpretation and enforcement of that decree. The Court of Federal Claims dismissed a claim against the United States for failure to secure and protect the tribe's water rights. The Federal Circuit affirmed, finding the claim barred by the six-year limitations period in 28 U.S.C. 2501. Rejecting an argument that the tribe was not on notice of its harm until the 2006 decision, the court stated that the plain terms of the 1935 decree indicated that the tribe would have no further rights and that the government was representing multiple parties.