City of Duluth v. Fond Du Lac Band of Chippewa

After the National Indian Gaming Commission decided that a 1994 consent decree involving the City of Duluth and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa was incompatible with federal law, the Band moved for dissolution of the consent decree. The City opposed the motion and the district court granted it in part and denied it in part. Both parties appealed. The Commission's change in the law governing Indian gaming made illegal what the earlier consent decree was designed to enforce. The 2011 decision by the Commission, the agency authorized by Congress to interpret and enforce the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, 25 U.S.C. 2701 et seq., ruled that the 1994 arrangement between the City and the Band violated the Act. That determination provided ample support for the district court's decision to grant prospective relief from continued enforcement of the 1994 consent decree into the 2011 to 2036 period since continued execution of the agreement would be "no longer equitable." It was unclear what conclusion the district court would have reached without its mistaken belief that Rule 60(b)(6) was not available for consideration of potential retrospective relief. The district court abused its discretion by not examining all the relevant factors and therefore the court reversed the district court's decision denying retrospective relief to the Band for its obligations to pay rent withheld from 2009 to 2011 and remanded that question for further consideration. View "City of Duluth v. Fond Du Lac Band of Chippewa" on Justia Law