Judge rules Cherokee Nation not a part of suit
The state of Oklahoma can't claim $600 million in damages on behalf of the Cherokee Nation, a federal judge ruled.

The state sued the poultry industry over pollution in the Illinois River. Tyson Foods Inc. and other companies responded that the tribe owns the river and must be a part of the case.

But the tribe never officially joined the lawsuit, Judge Gregory Frizzell said. A litigation agreement with Oklahoma attorney general Drew Edmondson failed to meet the requirements of state and federal law, the judge said.

"We had assigned our right to prosecute the Illinois River watershed pollution claims to the state," Cherokee Nation attorney general Diane Hammons said in a statement, The Tulsa World reported. "That agreement was between the Attorneys General of the nation and the state, and only concerned the right to litigate the lawsuit. It was not a state/tribal cooperative agreement that needed to go through the governmental approval processes of either the state or the nation."

Frizzell dismissed the state's claims with regard to damages but did not rule on the state's claims for injunctive relief.

Get the Story:
Poultry lawsuit is partially dismissed (The Tulsa World 7/23)
Damages dismissed in poultry lawsuit (The Tahlequah Daily Press 7/23)

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Cherokee Nation weighs move in poultry lawsuit (12/16)
Poultry industry cites Cherokee Nation in lawsuit (11/03)