Court won't allow Buena Vista Rancheria in gaming land case

Artist's rendering of the proposed Buena Vue Casino. Image from Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians

The Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians in California can't join a long-running lawsuit that challenges the tribe's gaming plans, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today.

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel said the tribe waited too long to intervene. The tribe didn't file its motion until 2011 -- six years after the lawsuit was filed in 2005.

"The record demonstrates that the tribe knew in 2005 as well that the United States might not adequately represent the tribe’s interest," the D.C. Circuit wrote.

The lawsuit began when Amador County sued the Bureau of Indian Affairs for allowing the tribe's Class III gaming compact to go into effect. At issue is whether the BIA should have determined whether the tribe's reservation qualifies as "Indian land" under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

A federal judge dismissed the suit but the D.C. Circuit revived it in May 2011. The court said the BIA's actions -- or lack thereof -- can be reviewed and sent the case back to Judge Richard W. Roberts for further proceedings although he has yet to issue a final decision.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the DC Circuit case, Amador County v. DOI. Oral arguments from the October 9 hearing are available on the Indianz.Com SoundCloud.

DC Circuit Decision:
Amador County v. Jewell (December 2, 2014)

Earlier DC Circuit Decision:
Amador County v. Salazar (May 6, 2011)

District Court Decisions from District of Columbia:
July 12, 2010 | January 8, 2009

Related Stories:
Supreme Court won't hear Buena Vista Rancheria compact suit (12/1)
Buena Vista Rancheria wants to intervene in gaming land suit (10/10)

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