Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians v. State

United States District Court, E.D. California

August 9, 2016

NORTH FORK RANCHERIA OF MONO INDIANS OF CALIFORNIA, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA, Defendant.

          ORDER DECLINING TO IMPOSE A STAY OF JUDGMENT

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff 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. Doc. 39.

         For the following reasons, this Court will decline to issue a stay.

         II. Background

         The 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.

         A. The Scope of This Action

         North 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).

         On 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.

         North 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).[1] 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).

         B. Related Actions

         North Fork has identified five other actions relating to the subject matter of the action before this court.

         1. The District of Columbia Action

         In 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. 31, 2012).

         Stand 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).

         Thereafter, 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.

         2. California Third District Court of Appeal Action

         In 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.

         3. California Fifth District Court of Appeal Action

         In 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.

         In 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.

         4. The Second Madera Superior Court Action

         On 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.