United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DECLINING TO IMPOSE A STAY OF JUDGMENT
North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California
(“North Fork”) has obtained judgment on the
pleadings against the State of California
(“State” or “California”) based on
the failure of the State to negotiate with the tribe for the
purpose of entering into a Tribal-State compact governing the
conduct of class III gaming activities as required by the
Indian Gaming Rights Act (“IGRA”), see
25 U.S.C. § 2710(d)(3)(A), after the California
electorate voted down Proposition 48, the referendum that
would have ratified the gaming compact between North Fork and
California. Doc. 25. In response to issues highlighted by the
Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians
(“Chukchansi”) in its motion to intervene, Doc.
31, the Court ordered additional briefing from the parties
regarding whether a decision in one of the other actions
regarding the proposed North Fork gaming site might impact
this Court’s jurisdiction over this case, Doc. 36.
North Fork and the State agree that this matter is
justiciable regardless of the outcome of the other actions.
Docs. 37, 38. They also agree that no stay should be imposed.
Id. Chukchansi submitted briefing as amicus
curiae, wherein it argues that this matter could be
rendered non-justiciable by decisions in other proceedings.
following reasons, this Court will decline to issue a stay.
Court set forth a detailed summary of the factual and
statutory background relevant to North Fork’s Indian
Gaming Regulatory Act (“IGRA”) claim in its Order
dated November 13, 2015. Doc. 25. Here, the Court will detail
the scope of this proceeding and the other six proceedings
relating to the North Fork gaming at the Madera parcel.
The Scope of This Action
Fork initiated negotiation with the State pursuant to 25
U.S.C. § 2710(d)(3)(A) which provides that “[a]ny
Indian tribe having jurisdiction over lands upon which a
class III gaming activity … is to be conducted, shall
request the State in which such lands are located to enter
into negotiations for purposes of entering into a
Tribal-State compact governing the conduct of gaming
activities. Upon receiving such a request, the State shall
negotiate with the Indian tribe in good faith to enter into
such a compact.” On August 30, 2012, North Fork and
Governor Brown agreed on the terms of a Tribal-State compact.
The compact was then forwarded to the legislature for
ratification. Ratification of the compact was proposed as
Assembly Bill (“AB”) 277. On May 2, 2013, the
California Assembly passed AB 277; on June 27, 2013, the
California Senate passed AB 277; and on July 3, 2013, the
governor signed AB 277. Then-Secretary of State, Deborah
Bowen, forwarded the compact to the United States Secretary
of the Interior for review and approval pursuant to 25 U.S.C.
§ 2710(d)(8). On October 22, 2013, the Secretary of the
Interior published notice of the Tribal-State compact taking
effect. 78 FR 62649-01 (Oct. 22, 2013).
October 1, 2013, opponents of the North Fork casino garnered
sufficient signatures from California registered voters to
place a veto referendum, known as California Proposition 48,
on the November 2014 ballot. On November 4, 2014, California
voters overturned AB 277. Based on that referendum vote, the
State of California refused to recognize the existence of a
valid Tribal-State compact with North Fork. The State also
refused to negotiate with North Fork regarding conducting
gaming on the Madera parcel, indicating that such negotiation
would be futile in light of the outcome of Proposition 48.
Fork filed suit with this Court pursuant to 25 U.S.C. §
2710(d)(7)(A)(i), alleging that the “State [failed] to
enter into negotiations with the Indian tribe for the purpose
of entering into a Tribal-State compact … or [failed]
to conduct such negotiations in good faith.” The
parties filed cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings
wherein each agreed that the Madera parcel was Indian land
made eligible for gaming pursuant to 25 U.S.C. § 2719.
The parties’ dispute surrounded only whether the State
could refuse to negotiate regarding a specific parcel of
Indian land. The Court determined that the State’s
refusal to negotiate regarding the Madera parcel violated the
State’s obligation under section
2710(d)(3)(A). The parties were directed to conclude a
compact within 60 days of the date of the Court’s
order. See 25 U.S.C. § 2710(d)(7)(B)(iii). The
parties failed to do so. The Court then appointed a mediator
pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 2710(d)(7)(B)(iv). The parties were
directed to submit “a proposed compact that represents
their last best offer for a compact.” 25 U.S.C. §
2710(d)(7)(B)(iv). The mediator was directed to “select
from the two proposed compacts the one which best comports
with the terms of [IGRA], … any other applicable
Federal law[, ] and with the findings and order (Doc. 25) of
th[is] court.” Id. The mediator selected the
North Fork compact. At that point, the State was permitted
sixty days within which to consent to the proposed compact.
Id. at § 2710(d)(7)(vi), (vii). The State did
not consent within that sixty day period and the mediator
notified the Secretary of the Interior. On July 29, 2016, the
Secretary of the Interior issued Secretarial procedures
governing the conduct of Class III gaming on North
Fork’s Indian lands. See Doc. 42 at 2;
Id. at § 2710(d)(7)(vii).
Fork has identified five other actions relating to the
subject matter of the action before this court.
The District of Columbia Action
December 2012, Stand Up for California!, a “community
watchdog group that focuses on gambling issues affecting
California citizens, ” and several other plaintiffs
filed suit against the United States Secretary of the
Interior, challenging both the Secretary’s two-part
after-acquired lands determination (“two-part
determination”), see 25 U.S.C. § 2719,
and decision to take the Madera parcel into trust for North
Fork (“fee-to-trust determination”), see
25 U.S.C. § 465, under the Administrative Procedures Act
(“APA”). Stand Up for California! v. U.S.
Dept. of Interior, Case No. 1:12-cv-02039-BAH, Doc. 1
(D.D.C. Dec. 19, 2012). At the end of the same month,
Chukchansi filed a similar action that the district court
consolidated with the Stand Up for California case
(collectively the “District of Columbia Action”).
Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians v. United
States, Case No. 1:12-cv-2071-BAH, Doc. 1 (D.D.C. Dec.
Up sought and was denied a preliminary injunction
preventing acquisition of the Madera parcel on behalf of
North Fork. Stand Up for California v. U.S. Dept. of the
Interior, 919 F.Supp.2d 51, 81 (D.D.C. Jan. 29, 2013)
(noting that none of the four of the factors-likelihood of
success on the merits, irreparable harm, balance of the
equities, and the public interest-weigh in favor of granting
a Stand Up’s motion for preliminary injunction).
Stand Up twice amended its complaint to challenge (1)
Governor Brown’s concurrence with the Secretary’s
two-part determination, Stand Up for California! v.
United States Department of the Interior, Case No.
1:12-cv-02039-BAH, Doc. 56 (D.D.C. June 27, 2013), and (2)
the validity of the compact in light of the Proposition 48,
Id., Doc. 103 (D.D.C. Dec. 3, 2014). The parties
filed cross-motions for summary judgment. Id., Docs.
106, 108, 111, 112. As a result of the amendments and the
parties’ cross-motions, the court in the District of
Columbia Action had ordered briefing on whether the State of
California is a required party under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 19. Id., Doc. 135 (D.D.C. Sept. 30, 2015).
Briefing on that issue has concluded. The court in the
District of Columbia action has yet to rule on the
cross-motions for summary judgment or determine whether
California is a required party.
California Third District Court of Appeal Action
November 2012, Chukchansi brought an action in the Sacramento
County Superior Court, contending that the Governor’s
concurrence in the Secretary’s two-part determination
“constituted an ‘approval’ of a
‘project’ under [the California Environmental
Quality Act (“CEQA”)] that ‘must be the
subject of the CEQA environmental review
process.’” Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi
Indians v. Brown, 229 Cal.App.4th 1416, 1421
(Cal.Ct.App. 2014). The superior court granted Governor
Brown’s demurrer, explaining that the Governor is not a
“public agency” for purposes of CEQA and that his
concurrence was not subject to CEQA. Id. The
California Third District Court of Appeal affirmed.
Id. at 1431. The California Supreme Court denied
Chukchansi’s petition for review on January 14, 2015.
That case is now closed.
California Fifth District Court of Appeal Action
March of 2013, Stand Up filed suit in the Madera County
Superior Court, contending that the Governor lacked the
authority under California law to concur in the Secretary of
the Interior’s two-part determination. Stand Up for
California v State of California et al., 5th DCA Case
No. F069302. The Madera County Superior Court held that the
Governor’s authority to concur with the
Secretary’s determination is implicit in the
Governor’s authority to negotiate and conclude
Tribal-State compacts on behalf of the state. Id.
Stand Up appealed. The matter has been fully briefed and
argued and is now under submission before the California
Fifth District Court of Appeal.
February 2014, North Fork filed a cross-complaint before the
Madera County Superior Court, challenging the validity of
Proposition 48 and arguing that the Tribal-State compact was
in effect. The superior court dismissed the cross-complaint
and North Fork appealed to the California Fifth District
Court of Appeal. The two cases were consolidated. On June 3,
2016, based on the parties’ stipulation, the Fifth
District Court of Appeal dismissed North Fork’s appeal.
The Second Madera Superior Court Action
March 18, 2016, Chukchansi filed suit in the Madera County
Superior Court, challenging the Governor’s concurrence
with the Secretary of the Interior’s two-part
determination. See Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi
Indians v. U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Case No.
1:16-cv-00950-AWI, Doc. 2 (E.D. Cal. July 1, 2016). North