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Cherokee Supreme Court Rejects Council Members’ Claims for Legal Fees March 28, 2008

Posted by rezjudicata in Cherokee Supreme Court, Tribal Courts.
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Cherokee Nation v. O’Leary, SC-2006-13 (Cher. Sup. Ct. Jan. 22, 2008)

Issue(s): Cherokee Law > Council Legal Fees >> Reimbursement; Cherokee Constitutional Law > Separation of Powers >> Council Members >>> Enumerated Authorities

After discovering suspected wrongdoing by the Principal Chief and several executives, seven Cherokee Tribal Council members (Appellants) hired lawyers to pursue legal action. Appellants sued the Chief and others “on behalf of the Nation,” but without formal approval of the tribal council as a whole. Appellants then requested that the Cherokee Nation cover the Appellants’ legal costs. Is the Nation obligated to recoup Appellants’ legal expenses?



Ninth Circuit Says HUD Breached No Actionable Trust Duty Concerning Blackfeet Housing March 27, 2008

Posted by rezjudicata in 9th Circuit, Federal Circuits.
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Marceau v. Blackfeet Housing Authority, No. 04-35210, (9th Cir. March 19, 2008)

Issue(s): Tribal Immunity > Waiver; Federal Courts > Comity >> Tribal Court Exhaustion; Trust Relationship > Causes of Action >> Mitchell Doctrine; Administrative Law > APA Claims >> Required Agency Actions

In 1977, the Blackfeet Tribe created the Blackfeet Housing Authority to take advantage of HUD block grants. Adopting HUD-authored regulations and using HUD money, the Authority built 153 homes. According to Marceau, HUD directed the Authority to use chemical-laden wooden foundations for the home. As a result, many of the homes’ inhabitants became seriously ill and many of the homes became uninhabitable. Did the Authority enjoy immunity from suit as a tribal entity? If not, did the plaintiff’s need to exhaust their tribal court remedies? Did plaintiffs have a cause of action against HUD for violating a trust responsibility? And could plaintiffs state a claim against HUD based on the APA?


Navajo Supreme Court Upholds Family Court’s Jurisdiction over Non-resident Navajo Children March 21, 2008

Posted by rezjudicata in Navajo Supreme Court, Tribal Courts.
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Miles v. Chinle Family Court, No. SC-CV-04-08 (Nav. Sup. Ct. Feb. 21, 2008)

Issue(s): Jurisdiction > Subject Matter Jurisdiction >> Custody >>> Non-resident Members; Navajo Law > Due Process >> Notice Requirements

After his relationship with the Mother failed, Miles took their daughter and left the Navajo Nation. Sometime later, the Family Court granted the Mother’s motions for immediate custody and writ of habeas corpus. The Mother, however, never successfully served Miles. While the daughter is a member of the Nation, Miles is not. Did the Family Court have jurisdiction over the Mother’s motions? If so, the court violate Miles’s due process rights by issuing the custody orders without notice to Miles?