Native American

  • January 3, 2017

    Navajos Say Ex-Gold King Owner Can't Dodge Spill Claims

    The Navajo Nation urged a New Mexico federal court on Friday to reject a bid by the former owner of the Gold King Mine to nix claims over a 2015 spill of toxic wastewater at the Colorado mine, accusing the company of “cavalier disregard” in allowing the wastewater to build up at the site.

  • January 3, 2017

    IRS Keeps Reporting Thresholds In Final Gambling Regs

    The Internal Revenue Service held to its reporting thresholds for slot, bingo and keno gambling winnings in final guidance issued last week that also sought to provide gambling establishments some additional flexibility for when and how to report winnings.

  • January 2, 2017

    Native American Cases To Watch In 2017

    Native American law practitioners are all keeping an eye on a U.S. Supreme Court case that will set the limits of tribal employees’ immunity to tort suits, but will also be monitoring federal court cases over taxation of non-Indians on Indian lands, National Labor Relations Board authority at California tribal casinos, and tribal environmental rights in the wake of the Dakota Access pipeline controversy. Here are five cases Native American law attorneys will be following in 2017.

  • December 22, 2016

    Calif. Justices Clarify When Tribal Businesses Are Immune

    The California Supreme Court on Thursday clarified the legal standard for when tribe-affiliated entities can establish legal immunity, holding that payday lenders affiliated with two tribes are not shielded from allegations they engaged in abusive practices.

  • December 22, 2016

    Tribe Must Solve Disputed Election On Its Own, Judge Says

    A Rhode Island federal judge decided Thursday it was up to the Narragansett Indian Tribe to resolve a disputed election, impeachment and power dispute, adding he was leaning toward dismissing the case.

  • December 22, 2016

    Charge On Tribes Is A Fee, Not A Tax, Wash. Justices Say

    Washington state’s high court on Thursday ruled that a local government charge on Native American tribes is not an unconstitutional tax, finding that contrary to a city’s assertions, the charge is not a tax, but rather a fee for public services that municipalities provide to tax-exempt properties.

  • December 22, 2016

    Calif., New Mexico Intervene In BLM Flaring Rule Suit

    California and New Mexico on Wednesday urged a Wyoming federal court to reject a bid by other states to block implementation of a new Bureau of Land Management rule aimed at limiting the release of methane from drilling operations on federal and Native American lands, the same day the court granted a bid from the two states to intervene in the case.

  • December 22, 2016

    Colo. Tribe Says BIA Whistleblower Report One-Sided

    The Southern Ute Indian Tribe blasted the U.S. Office of Special Counsel for recently stating that the Bureau of Indian Affairs removed a whistleblowing employee after he angered the Colorado tribe about certain gas leases, denying on Wednesday that the Utes did anything improper.

  • December 22, 2016

    Native American Law MVP: Dentons' Heather Sibbison

    Heather Sibbison of Dentons led a team that scored a major victory in the D.C. Circuit this summer defending the federal government’s decision to take land into trust for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, securing her place on Law360’s 2016 list of MVPs for Native American law.

  • December 21, 2016

    Native American Law MVP: Akin Gump's Donald Pongrace

    Donald Pongrace of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has represented tribes in high-profile litigation and policy battles throughout the year, including wrapping up one of the largest-ever Indian water rights settlements, winning him a place on Law360’s 2016 list of MVPs for Native American law.

  • December 21, 2016

    Tribes Say Driver Shares Mohegan's Immunity To Tort Suit

    Nearly two dozen tribes urged the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to uphold a ruling that the driver of a Mohegan Tribe-owned limousine shared the tribe’s sovereign immunity to a state tort suit over an off-reservation car accident, saying a reversal would undermine tribal self-government and public safety.

  • December 21, 2016

    BLM’s Wind Farm Approval Was Proper, 9th Circ. Says

    A Ninth Circuit panel said Wednesday that the Bureau of Land Management followed the rules when it approved a wind energy project in the California Desert Conservation Area, saying an amendment to the area’s plan designated a portion for wind energy.

  • December 21, 2016

    9th Circ. Upholds DOI's Win In Tribal Enrollment Dispute

    The Ninth Circuit on Monday upheld a ruling in favor of the U.S. Department of the Interior in a dispute brought by the descendants of a Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians member, who sought to fight the denial of their applications for enrollment in the tribe and for increases in their recorded blood degree.

  • December 21, 2016

    Ruling Stands Allowing Seminoles To Continue Card Games

    A federal judge Tuesday denied Florida's bid to alter his ruling that a state breach allows the Seminole Tribe of Florida to keep offering card games such as blackjack and baccarat for the remainder of their gaming agreement, saying the state's motion “simply reargues the merits.”

  • December 21, 2016

    Navajo Nation Fights Dismissal Bid In Mine Spill Suit

    The Navajo Nation on Tuesday urged a federal court to deny Kinross Gold Corp.'s bid to dismiss the tribe’s lawsuit alleging the company bears some responsibility for last year’s Gold King Mine disaster, which contaminated tribal land with toxic wastewater

  • December 21, 2016

    Tribe, Opposing Maine, Wants In On EPA Water Quality Suit

    The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians asked a Maine federal court Tuesday to let it intervene to oppose the state’s suit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s tightening of its water quality standards for tribal waters, saying the more restrictive rules ensure the tribe can continue its fishing traditions.

  • December 20, 2016

    Canadian Pipeline Challenged Over Impact On Killer Whales

    Canadian environmental groups on Monday took steps to challenge the government’s approval of Kinder Morgan's $5.4 billion Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project, citing potentially dangerous effects for killer whales that a review board failed to accommodate.

  • December 20, 2016

    Native American Law MVP: Dentons' Matthew Adams

    Dentons’ Matthew Adams has played a lead role representing Native American tribes in several prominent cases in the past year, including helping a Washington state tribe defeat a proposed deepwater export terminal that threatened its fishing grounds, scoring him a spot on Law360’s 2016 list of MVPs for Native American law.

  • December 20, 2016

    Tribe Denied Early Win In Casino Fight With Ariz. Gaming Head

    A federal judge denied the Tohono O'odham Nation’s bid for a quick win in its suit against the head of Arizona's gambling department over its right to offer Las Vegas-style gambling near Phoenix on Monday and instead set the stage for a trial next year.

  • December 20, 2016

    2nd Circ. Asked To Rethink Giving Casino Land To NY Tribe

    A nonprofit seeking to prevent the federal government from entrusting land surrounding New York's Turning Stone Resort and Casino to the Oneida Indian Nation asked the Second Circuit on Tuesday to reconsider affirming a lower court ruling that tossed two lawsuits alleging the acquisition was unconstitutional.

Expert Analysis

  • The Intricacies Of Patent Infringement In Indian Gaming

    Rob Roy Edward Stuart Smith

    Federal courts have ruled that tribes are immune to private lawsuits brought under the U.S. Patent Act, unless they waive their sovereign immunity. Tribes should consider creatively using their immunity to become more involved in technology development, say attorneys from Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton.

  • A Primer On The Presidential Appointee Vetting Process

    Robert K. Kelner

    With the election over, the process of selecting individuals to fill the next administration’s key appointed positions is quickly shifting into high gear. For those who are called to serve in such positions, the process entails extensive vetting of professional credentials and a host of personal background check issues, say attorneys with Covington & Burling LLP.

  • Merging Law Firms: Think Before You Tie The Knot

    John Remsen Jr.

    Getting larger isn’t a good enough reason to merge. Focus on whether the merger will make your firm better. Also, it’s possible that a merger can reduce profitability, says John Remsen Jr. of TheRemsenGroup.

  • Merging Law Firms: Why Deals Fail Or Underperform

    Lisa Smith

    While many law firm mergers have been successful, some have been spectacularly unsuccessful — to the point of firm dissolution. Some have exceeded expectations, while others have had little impact on the overall competitiveness of the combined firm. In both failed discussions and less-than-successful mergers, there are mistakes that are made along the way, says Lisa Smith of Fairfax Associates.

  • What To Expect From The New Senate

    Kay Bailey Hutchison

    A word of caution to our fellow Republicans — one lesson learned from President Obama’s first two years in office is that pushing through partisan legislation could come back to haunt a party and a presidency, say former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Curt Beaulieu of Bracewell LLP.

  • Merging Law Firms: Beware Conflicts Of Interest

    Allison Martin Rhodes

    Among the many ethical issues that can arise, conflicts of interest from current or past representation of each firm’s clients should be at the forefront of merger discussions. Recently, we have seen such conflicts disqualify firms in the middle of high-cost litigation, say Allison Martin Rhodes of Holland & Knight LLP and Robert Hillman of the University of California, Davis.

  • Man Vs. Machine: Or, Lawyers Vs. Legal Technology

    Abdi Shayesteh

    Some have claimed that emerging legal technologies and increasingly cost-conscious clients will mean the extinction of the legal profession as we know it. However, innovations in legal technology may actually benefit attorneys, allowing them to spend their time doing more meaningful work, say Abdi Shayesteh and Elnaz Zarrini of AltaClaro.

  • OPINION: The Verdict — A Rejection Of Politics As Usual

    Reuben Guttman

    The verdict on Nov. 8, was not unanimous, especially when Secretary Hillary Clinton will end up with a popular vote advantage. Yet, it is a message of extreme magnitude from voters willing to overlook the serious flaws of a candidate because they could not reconcile themselves to ratifying the perpetuation of politics as usual, says Reuben Guttman, a partner of Guttman Buschner & Brooks PLLC and adjunct professor at Emory Law School.

  • Merging Law Firms: Why Hogan Lovells Has Worked

    J. Warren Gorrell Jr.

    As shown by the impending merger between Arnold & Porter LLP and Kaye Scholer LLP, consolidation in the legal industry remains a popular strategy among firms looking to boost revenue and acquire new clients. J. Warren Gorrell Jr., a key architect of the 2010 merger that created Hogan Lovells, reflects on his own experience and why mergers of equals are particularly difficult.

  • Candid Advice From The Bench: Judges Are People Too

    Alison Wong

    While it’s true that judges are more capable than juries of rendering decisions based on a subtler understanding of the law, trial lawyers shouldn’t assume that judges are immune to the unfolding drama and underlying context of the case. In fact, the most important lesson we’ve learned from interviewing retired judges is that they process information the same way jurors do, says Alison Wong of Salmons Consulting.