Modrall Sperling Law Firm

Supreme Court Declines Review of Tenth Circuit Case Holding Tribal Acquisition of an Interest in an Allotment Defeats Eminent Domain Authority

The Supreme Court recently denied a petition to review the Tenth Circuit’s opinion in Public Service Company of New Mexico v. Barboan1. The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district’s court ruling that tribal ownership of a fractional interest in an “allotment,” land the…

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Supreme Court Ducks Addressing “Immovable Property” Exception to Tribal Sovereign Immunity

As Chief Justice Roberts put it in his concurring opinion in Upper Skagit Indian Tribe v. Lundgren, “There should be a means of resolving a mundane dispute over property ownership, even when one of the parties to the dispute—involving non-trust, non-reservation land—is…

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Potential Hurdle to Right-of-Way Acquisition and Renewals: The Tenth Circuit Holds Tribal Acquisition of an Undivided Interest in an Allotment Defeats Congressional Eminent Domain Authority

On May 26, 2017, the Tenth Circuit issued its decision in Public Service Company of New Mexico v. Barboan,1 upholding a New Mexico federal district court’s ruling2 that tribal ownership of even a very small fractional interest in an allotment bars condemnation…

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BIA Regulations on Appraisal/Valuation of Indian Property

On June 10, 2016, Congress passed the Indian Trust Asset Reform Act (ITARA), and on June 22, 2016, President Barack Obama signed it into law.1 According to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the purpose of the Act “is to reaffirm the…

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The Silver Lining: Efficiencies in BIA’s Newly Effective Right-of-Way Regulations

As we have previously reported, the Bureau of Indian Affair’s (BIA) recently revised the regulations governing grants of right-of-way (ROW) on Indian lands compiled at 25 C.F.R. Part 169 (Final Rule).[1. The BIA’s website has additional information on the Final Rule and…

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Equally Divided United States Supreme Court Affirms Tribal Jurisdiction over Tort Claims Against Nonmembers

On June 23, 2016 the Supreme Court issued its much anticipated decision in Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians[1. Dollar Gen. Corp. v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, 579 U.S. ___ , 135 S. Ct. 2159 (June 23, 2016) (per…

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Court Allows BIA’s Final Rule Regarding Rights-of-Way on Indian Land To Go Into Effect April 21

On Thursday, April 21, 2016, the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Final Rule entitled Rights-of-Way on Indian Land, 80 Fed. Reg. 72492-72549 (Nov. 19, 2015), making changes to the regulations in 25 C.F.R. Part 169, will go into effect. The United States District Court…


Four Changes to BIA’s Right-Of-Way Regulations That Grantees and Applicants Should Know

On November 3, 2015, Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs signed a final rule revising the Bureau of Indian Affair’s (BIA) regulations[1. Available here.] governing grants of right-of-way (ROW) on Indian lands compiled at 25 C.F.R. Part 169 (Final Rule).  The Final Rule was published in…

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State Taxation Precluded by Extensive and Exclusive Federal Regulation of Indian Leasing

On August 26, 2015, in Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Stranburg,[1. 799 F.3d 1324 (11th Cir. 2015).] the Eleventh Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida’s decision,[2. 49 F. Supp. 3d….

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Southern Ute Sues to Bar Applying BLM’s Fracking Rule to Tribal Oil and Gas

The Case: The Southern Ute Indian Tribe (Tribe) filed suit on June 18, 2015 in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado[1. Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. U. S. Department of the Interior, D. Colo. No. 1:15-cv-01303.] against the Department…

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