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Judge refuses to delay tribal trust fund suits
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Filed Under: Law | Trust

A federal judge on Wednesday denied the Bush administration's attempt to delay 37 tribal trust fund lawsuits.

The administration asked for a six-month delay in order to work on historical accountings for the tribal plaintiffs. A motion stated the Interior Department would "define and complete" the accountings.

But Judge James Robertson said the truth was a little bit different. Another motion filed in court stated that Interior would use the delay to "prepare a historical accounting plan" for the tribes and even for those who haven't filed a lawsuit.

"This court cannot and will not dictate the details of any tribal trust accounting plan," Robertson wrote in a 12-page order. "However, it is the court's obligation to define the trustee's legal duties and resolve the various charges raised in plaintiffs’ complaints."

The tribes are asking for an accounting of their trust funds and assets. The cases are similar to the Cobell lawsuit over the Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust.

Robertson was assigned the Cobell case after Judge Royce Lamberth was removed. He is also handling the tribal cases, some of which had been assigned to Lamberth.

Court Decision:
Assiniboine & Sioux et al. v. Kempthorne (December 19, 2007)

Case Materials:
Assiniboine & Sioux et al. v. Kempthorne Materials (Turtletalk)

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