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Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians of the Colusa Indian Community v. State

August 19, 2009

CACHIL DEHE BAND OF WINTUN INDIANS OF THE COLUSA INDIAN COMMUNITY, A FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED INDIAN TRIBE, PLAINTIFF, PICAYUNE RANCHERIA OF THE CHUKCHANSI INDIANS, A A FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED INDIAN TRIBE, PLAINTIFF IN INTERVENTION,
v.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA; CALIFORNIA GAMBLING CONTROL COMMISSION, AN AGENCY OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA; AND ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Frank C. Damrell, Jr. United States District Judge

This matter is before the court on plaintiff Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians of the Colusa Indian Community's ("Colusa") and plaintiff-intervenor Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians' ("Picayune") (collectively, "plaintiffs") motion for entry of final judgment on fewer than all claims, pursuant to Rule 54(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Specifically, plaintiffs seek entry of final judgment on claims relating to the size of the Gaming Device license pool and Colusa's priority in the tiered drawing system. Defendants State of California, California Gambling Control Commission (the "Commission" or "CGCC"), and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's (collectively, the "defendants") oppose the motion. Alternatively, defendants assert that final judgment should be entered as to all six of the seven claims that were resolved by the court's April 22, 2009 Memorandum and Order (the "April 22 Order"), granting in part and denying in part the parties' motions for summary judgment and motion for judgment on the pleadings.*fn1

BACKGROUND*fn2

Plaintiff Colusa is an American Indian Tribe with a governing body duly recognized by the Secretary of the Interior. Plaintiff-intervenor Picayune is also a federally recognized Indian tribe. Colusa and Picayune entered into similar Class III Gaming Compacts (the "Compacts" or "Compact") with the State of California (the "State") in 1999, which were ratified by the Legislature on September 10, 1999; both Colusa and Picayune's Compacts have been in effect since May 16, 2000. 55 other federally recognized tribes (the "Compact Tribes") also executed virtually identical compacts with the State. At their core, these compacts authorize Class III gaming subject to certain restrictions.

The Compact sets forth various provisions relating to the number of Class III Gaming Devices a Compact Tribe may operate. The Compact sets the limit of the amount of Gaming Devices operated by each individual tribe at 2,000. The Compact also sets a statewide maximum on the number of Gaming Devices that all Compact Tribes may license in the aggregate. This statewide maximum is determined by a formula set forth in § 4.3.2.2(a)(1) of the Compact. Gaming Device licenses are distributed among all the 1999 Compact Tribes pursuant to the license draw process set forth in § 4.3.2.2 of the Compact; tribes are awarded licenses based upon the tribe's placement in one of five priority tiers.

On or about March 13, 2001, then Governor Gray Davis issued Executive Order D-31-01, in which he declared that the Commission had exclusive control over the issue of Gaming Device licensing under the Compact. Since June 2002, the Commission has assumed sole responsibility for the administration of the license draw system. On October 25, 2004, Colusa filed a complaint in this court, alleging violations of the Compact. Colusa asserted that defendants violated the Compact by: (1) excluding the Tribe from participating in the third priority tier in the December 19, 2003 round of draws; (2) unilaterally determining the number of Gaming Device licenses authorized by § 4.3.2.2(a)(1) of the Compact; (3) failing to refund money paid pursuant to the non-refundable one-time pre-payment fee set forth in § 4.3.2.2(e) of the Compact; (4) CGCC conducting rounds of draws of Gaming Device licenses without authority; and (5) failing to negotiate in good faith.

On March 28, 2006, defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, seeking to dismiss plaintiff's first, second, third, and fourth claims for relief for failure to join necessary and indispensable parties and plaintiff's fifth claim for relief for failure to exhaust non-judicial remedies. By order dated May 16, 2006 (the "May 16 order"), the court granted defendants' motion.

Colusa appealed the court's May 16 order.*fn3 The Ninth Circuit reversed the court's ruling that Colusa's first four claims required joinder pursuant to Rule 19 and remanded for further proceedings consistent with its opinion. Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians of the Colusa Indian Cmty. ("Colusa") v. California, 547 F.3d 962 (9th Cir. 2008). The Ninth Circuit's mandate was filed in this court on November 14, 2008.

In the interim, on June 5, 2007, Colusa filed a second action in this court, alleging that defendants violated the Compact by (1) refusing to schedule and conduct a round of draws; and (2) counting multi-station games as equal to the number of terminals. (First Am. Compl. in Case No. 2:07-cv-1065 [Docket #22], filed Feb. 8, 2008). Colusa also alleged that defendants failed to negotiate in good faith in violation of both the Compact and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, 25 U.S.C. § 2710.

On December 10, 2008, the court consolidated the two actions on defendants' motion and set a revised schedule for dispositive motions. On January 2, plaintiff-intervenor Picayune filed a motion to intervene in the action, alleging that the Commission breached its Gaming Compact with the State of California by miscalculating the total number of licenses in the gaming device license pool. (Compl. in Intervention). The court granted Picayune's motion, but maintained the existing schedule for the parties' dispositive motions. (Order [Docket #63], filed Jan. 22, 2009).

The court heard oral argument on the parties' dispositive motions on February 20, 2009. By Stipulation and Order, filed March 2, 2009, the court allowed plaintiff Colusa and defendants to file additional cross-motions on summary judgment regarding Colusa's claim for Failure to Negotiate in Good Faith. The court also allowed the parties to submit supplemental briefing regarding the size of the statewide license pool under the 1999 Compact, the last of which was filed on April 8, 2009.

On April 22, 2009 the court issued its Memorandum and Order. The court granted Colusa's motion for summary judgment with respect to its claims regarding (1) Colusa's priority in the draw process; and (2) the number of gaming devices authorized by the Compact. The court also granted Picayune's motion for summary judgment in its sole claim regarding the number of gaming devices authorized by the Compact. The court granted defendants' motions regarding (1) defendants' retention of license fees; (2) the Commission's authority to administer the draw process; (3) defendants' refusal to schedule and conduct a round of draws; and (4) defendants' counting of multi-station games as equal to the number of their terminals.*fn4

On May 12, 2009 and May 20, 2009, plaintiffs filed motions for entry of final judgment. The San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, a federally recognized Indian tribe that has brought very similar claims against defendants in the Southern District of California, requested leave to file an amicus brief in support of entry of final judgment. The court granted the motion and allowed defendants to file a response in opposition.

ANALYSIS

A. Entry of Final ...


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