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California Native American tribes file suit against state over gaming compact

By Noddy A. Fernandez | Jan 18, 2019

SACRAMENTO (Legal Newsline) – Three federally recognized Native American tribes have filed a suit against California and its governor over a gaming compact.

Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians, Blue Lake Rancheria and Chemehuevi Indian Tribe filed a complaint on Jan. 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. and the state of California over alleged violation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

According to the complaint, in October 1999, the plaintiffs entered into a Class III Tribal-State gaming compact with defendants that will expire on Dec. 31, 2020. The suit states in May 2014, the plaintiffs began negotiating with the state on a new compact that would replace the old.

However, during the course of negotiations, defendants allegedly insisted that Compact Tribes Steering Committee (CTSC) "negotiate over, and agree to include in their respective new compacts, subject that are outside of the IGRA defines as proper subjects of class III compact negotiations," the suit states. These items included minimum wage law and regulations spousal support orders against all tribal employees.

The plaintiffs hold Brown and the state of California responsible because the defendant allegedly failed to negotiate with the tribes in good faith to conclude a replacement compact.

The plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief, award of costs, reasonable attorney fees, and such other relief as may be deemed appropriate. They are represented by Lester J. Marston of Rapport and Marston in Ukiah, California and David Dehnert of Dehnert Law in Marina Del Rey, California.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California case number 1:19-cv-00024-AWI-SKO

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Rapport & Marston U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

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