Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement

Quapaw Tribe tries to opt out of Cobell trust fund settlement

The Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma made a last-minute attempt to opt out of the $3.4 billion Indian trust fund settlement on behalf of its 1,065 members.

The tribe met an April 20 deadline to file objections to the settlement. But the motion failed to state whether the tribe was representing its members, Judge Thomas Hogan said in a decision on Friday.

The tribe then waited nearly two months to file another motion that said it was opting out of the settlement on behalf of its members. Hogan said the tribe waited too long to take action.

"On June 13, 2011, almost two months after the deadline for filing such objections passed and one week before the fairness hearing, the Quapaw Tribe now files the motion to file, indicating that it meant to file the original objections on behalf of its 1,065 members who are also class members, all of whom have apparently opted out of the trust administration class," Hogan wrote in the decision.

"The tribe's motion is untimely," Hogan concluded.

Separately, a group of tribal members is pursuing a lawsuit for trust mismanagement in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The Department of Justice is seeking to have the case dismissed, saying it can't be filed until Cobell is completely resolved.

On April 26, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in US v. Tohono O'odham Nation. The justices said that tribes cannot pursue trust mismanagement lawsuits in two different courts.

The Obama administration says the ruling also applies to individual Indians.

Get the Story:
Justice as important as the money in Cobell case (The Tulsa World 6/20)

Related Stories:
Judge to hold fairness hearing for Cobell trust fund settlement (6/17)
Jerilyn DeCoteau: Cobell settlement just doesn't feel right (6/6)
Fairness hearing in Cobell settlement scheduled for June 20 (5/26)

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