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Anderson v. Duran

United States District Court, N.D. California

October 2, 2014

JOHN P. ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
JACK DURAN, et al., Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For John P. Anderson, in his official capacity as the Sheriff of Madera County, and individually, Plaintiff: Thomas Stephen Slovak, LEAD ATTORNEY, Slovak Baron Empey Murphy Pinkney, Palm Springs, CA; Charles Lester Gallagher, John Oli Pinkney, Lena D. Wade, Slovak Baron Empey Murphy Pinkney LLP, Palm Springs, CA.

For Jack Duran, Jr., in his purported official capacity as Judge of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians Tribal Court, Donna Howard, in her purported official capacity as Clerk of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians Tribal Court, Defendants: Gregory Todd Fayard, LEAD ATTORNEY, Klinedinst PC, Sacramento, CA.

For The Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, a federally recognized Indian Tribe, Chukchansi Economic Development Authority, a wholly owned unincorporated entity of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority, a wholly owned unincorporated entity of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, Defendants: James Joseph Qaqundah, LEAD ATTORNEY, John M. Peebles, Steven John Bloxham, Fredericks Peebles Morgan & LLP, Sacramento, CA; Alex Lozada, Rosette LLP, Folsom, CA; David M Osterfeld, Rosette, LLP, Chandler, AZ; Lester John Marston, Rapport & Marston, Ukiah, CA; Robert A Rosette, Rosette, LLP, Attorneys at Law, Folsom, CA.

For Reggie Lewis, in his purported official capacities as chairman of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians; a representative of the Chukchansi Economic Development Authority; and a representative of the Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority, Chance Alberta, in his purported official capacities as vice chairman of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians; a representative of the Chukchansi Economic Development Authority; and a representative of the Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority, Carl Bushman, in his purported official capacities as a council member of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians; a representative of the Chukchansi Economic Development Authority; and a representative of the Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority, Irene Waltz, in her purported official capacities as a council member of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians; a representative of the Chukchansi Economic Development Authority; and a representative of the Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority, Lynn Chenot, in her purported official capacities as a council member of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians; a representative of the Chukchansi Economic Development Authority; and a representative of the Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority, David Castillo, in his purported official capacities as a council member of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians; a representative of the Chukchansi Economic Development Authority; and a representative of the Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority, Melvin Espe, in his purported official capacities as a council member of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians; a representative of the Chukchansi Economic Development Authority; and a representative of the Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority, Defendants: Alex Lozada, Rosette LLP, Folsom, CA; David M Osterfeld, Rosette, LLP, Chandler, AZ; Robert A Rosette, Rosette, LLP, Attorneys at Law, Folsom, CA.

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ORDER DISMISSING THE TRIBAL ENTITIES, GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AS TO THE INDIVIDUAL DEFENDANTS, AND DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

RICHARD SEEBORG, United States District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff John Anderson is the Sheriff of Madera County, located outside of Fresno in the Eastern District of California. The specific dispute at issue in this case is but a piece of a larger struggle which began in 2011 for control and direction of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians (" the Tribe" ), a federally recognized tribe. The territory of the Tribe rests wholly within Madera County. At its core, this action represents a reaction bye the plaintiff Sherriff to orders he has received from certain tribal factions directing him to intercede against their opponents. While the entirety of the case rests on actions taken within the Central District of California, the parties do not dispute venue in this district as will become apparent below.

In August 2013, individuals purporting to represent the tribal council filed suit in tribal court against Anderson and others seeking damages and injunctive relief. The tribal court issued a temporary restraining order directing Anderson, who is not a member of the Tribe, to take certain steps in execution of his official duties as Sheriff. Shortly thereafter, Anderson filed suit in this Court, seeking a temporary restraining order (" TRO" ) and preliminary injunction against the Tribe, affiliated tribal entities, individual members of a group purporting to comprise the legitimate tribal council (the " Lewis Faction" ), and the judge and clerk of the purported tribal court (the " Lewis Tribunal" ). Anderson sought to prevent any of the individuals or entities from enforcing the TRO issued by the Lewis Tribunal and to stay further proceedings against him in that court. This Court conducted a hearing that same day at which representatives for the Lewis Faction as well as from a competing group, the Ayala Faction, participated. These two groups, along with a third contingent known as the Reid Faction, each purport to represent the Tribal entities in this action. At the conclusion of the hearing, Anderson's TRO was granted and an order to show cause issued as to his application for a preliminary injunction. The terms of the TRO were later incorporated into a preliminary injunction, which remains in effect.

Anderson now moves for summary judgment, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the Tribal entities and the individual defendants. The Lewis/Reid Faction, on behalf of the Tribal entities and individual defendants, opposes that motion and simultaneously moves for judgment on the pleadings or, in the alternative, summary judgment. The Tribal Court defendants, Jack Duran and Donna Howard, join the Lewis/Reid Faction's opposition and motion. The Ayala Faction, on behalf of the Tribal entities, joins Anderson's motion and opposes the Lewis/Reid Faction's counter-motion.

For the reasons set forth below, Anderson's motion is granted as to the individual defendants. His motion is denied, and the case is dismissed, as to the Tribal entities on the basis of sovereign immunity. The Lewis/Reid Faction's motion is denied.

II. BACKGROUND

The saga underlying this action tells the story of shifting allegiances and confusing occurrences. As noted above, the Tribe is a federally-recognized tribe located in Madera

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County, California. The Chukchansi Economic Development Authority (CEDA) is a wholly-owned, unincorporated unit of the tribe, which is located on the Rancheria immediately adjacent to the Tribe's gaming facility. The Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority (CIHA) is also a wholly-owned, unincorporated unit of the Tribe. It has historically operated under the independent control and guidance of directors appointed by the Tribe. Collectively, the Tribe, CEDA, and CIHA are referred to herein as the " Tribal entities."

The California Rancheria Act of 1958 terminated the Tribe's federal relationship, stripped its members of their status as Indians, and distributed through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (" BIA" ) land previously held in trust for the Tribe to private ownership subject to state and local laws. See Hardwick v. United States, Case No. 79-1710-JF, 2006 WL 3533029 (Dec. 7, 2006) (recounting the history of the Tribe). In 1979, individuals representing thirty-four of the terminated tribes, including the Picayune Rancheria, brought a class action lawsuit in the Northern District of California to challenge the termination of the trust relationship under the California Rancheria Act. A stipulated judgment was entered that restored the Indian status of members of seventeen of the former tribes, including the Picayune Rancheria. The settlement required the Secretary of the Interior to recognize the tribes and provided a mechanism whereby former tribal lands could be reconveyed to the United States to be held in trust for the benefit of the individual tribes. The court retained jurisdiction for disputes arising from that settlement.

The Picayune Rancheria began taking formal steps to reorganize in 1986. Disputes soon arose as to the boundary of the Picayune Rancheria relative to the neighboring North Fork Rancheria and the state and local tax consequences flowing from the termination and restoration of the tribe. A second stipulated judgment was entered in this district in 1987, confirming the boundaries of the two Rancherias and attempting to resolve the tax dispute. It did not, and additional disputes arose between the Tribe and Madera County concerning ad valorem property taxes and land use to develop hotel and gaming facilities.

In 2007, Madera County and the Tribe agreed to settle three pending lawsuits in the Madera County Superior Court and the Northern District of California concerning taxation and land use of a parcel of property in Madera County owned by the tribe and on which it had developed the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino (" the Casino" ). As part of the " Settlement Agreement," the Tribe agreed to pay various sums to the Madera County General Fund, the Yosemite Unified School District, and a trust account to be disbursed pursuant to a memorandum of understanding (" 2007 MOU" ). In exchange, the County agreed to remove its opposition to the Tribe's pending fee-to-trust application before the Department of Interior to convert the property into tribal land.

Relevant to this litigation, the 2007 MOU included several provisions pertaining to law enforcement on the Rancheria and other tribal land. California has held criminal law enforcement jurisdiction on tribal lands within the state since 1953 pursuant to Public Law 280,[1] and the 2007 MOU begins by confirming joint law enforcement authority between the Tribe and

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the County. Pursuant to the MOU, the Tribe is to have primary responsibility to maintain order and safety within the Rancheria and all lands held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the Tribe, with assistance " from time to time" by the Madera County Sheriff's Department. Additional provisions require the Sheriff to provide law enforcement services related to the gaming facility. The Tribe agreed to a limited waiver of sovereign immunity for any mediation or litigation necessary to interpret and enforce the agreement. The parties further agreed to submit any subsequent litigation arising out of the MOU to the federal court in this district. The Settlement Agreement was signed by ...


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