Hatahley v. United States 26 8212 27, 1956, No. 231

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtCLARK
Citation100 L.Ed. 1065,76 S.Ct. 745,351 U.S. 173
Decision Date07 May 1956
Docket NumberNo. 231
PartiesBill HATAHLEY et al., Petitioners, v. UNITED STATES of America. Argued March 26—27, 1956

351 U.S. 173
76 S.Ct. 745
100 L.Ed. 1065
Bill HATAHLEY et al., Petitioners,

v.

UNITED STATES of America.

No. 231.
Argued March 26—27, 1956.
Decided May 7, 1956.

Page 174

Mr.Norman M. Littell, Washington, D.C., for petitioners.

Mr. Roger P. Marquis, Washington, D.C., for respondent.

Mr. Justice CLARK delivered the opinion of the Court.

Petitioners, either families of Navajo Indians, seek damages under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C.A. §§ 1346(b), 2671 et seq., for the destruction of their horses by agents of the Federal Government. The District Court allowed damages of $100,000 and enjoined the Government and its agents from further interference with petitioners. The Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit reversed, 220 F.2d 666, on the ground that the Utah abandoned horse statute, Utah Code Ann., 1653, 47—2, was properly invoked by the government agents. We do not agree with the Court of Appeals.

Petitioners are wards of the Government. They have lived from time immemorial in stone and timber hogans on public land in San Juan County, Utah. This bleak area in the southeastern corner of the State is directly north of the Navajo Indian Reservation. While some Indian families from the reservation come into the area to graze their livestock, petitioners claim to have always lived there the year round. They are herdsmen and for generations they have grazed their livestock on this land. They are a simple and primitive people. Their living is derived entirely from their animals, from the little corn they are able to grow in family plots, and the wild game and pine nuts that the land itself affords.

Page 175

The District Court found that horses, as petitioners' beasts of burden and only means of transportation, were essential to their existence. 1

In 1934 the Government enacted the Taylor Grazing Act, 48 Stat. 1269, 43 U.S.C. § 315, 43 U.S.C.A. § 315, which provided for the regulation and use of these public lands. Grazing permits were issued to white livestock operators, and for a number of years these permittees grazed their livestock in common with petitioners, who continued in peaceable occupation and use of the land they claimed as their ancestral home. Limited forage made disputes between the stockmen and the Indians inevitable, and about 1950 both the Government and the white livestock operators filed suits to remove the Indians from this land. 2 In

Page 176

addition to legal proceedings, another method was employed by the government agents. Beginning in September 1952 and continuing until sometime after the present suit was filed in the District Court, the Department of Interior's range manager vigorously prosecuted a campaign to round up and destroy petitioners' horses. This action was taken pursuant to the Utah abandoned horse statute, Utah Code Ann., 1953, 47—2, which provides that the Board of County Commissioners may authorize the elimination of 'abandoned' horses on the open range. An 'abandoned' horse is defined as one running at large on the open range which is either not branded or, if branded, one on which the tax for the preceding year has not been paid. During the roundup a total of 115 horses and 38 burros belonging to petitioners were taken and sold or destroyed. Some horses were sold locally. Some were shot and their carcasses left on the range. Most of the animals, however, were trucked some 350 miles away to Provo, Utah, where they were sold to a horse-meat plant or a glue factory. The total amount derived from such sales, about $1,700, has been retained by the District Advisory Board composed of local stockmen. No part of it has been paid or offered to petitioners.

There is considerable evidence in the record to show that the Utah abandoned horse statute was applied discriminatorily against the Indians. In one instance the assistant range manager watched from a bluff while petitioner Hosteen Sakezzie released his horses from their corral. Later, a short distance away, the same government agent supervised a roundup of these horses and drove them 35 miles through the night to another corral from which they were loaded into trucks for the horse-meat plant. Sakezzie and three other Indians trailed the horses to the entrucking point but were not allowed to reclaim them. On another occasion five horses taken during the roundup which belonged to white stockmen

Page 177

were returned to their owners on the payment of a nominal $2.50 a head, but petitioner Little Wagon was told that to reclaim his horses the charge would be $60 a head, an amount known to be far above his means. For the most part, these and other facts found by the District Court were unchallenged in the Court of Appeals and are unchallenged here.3

The Court of Appeals did not reach the question of liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act, since it concluded that the government agents' actions were authorized by the Utah abandoned horse statute. We cannot dispose of this case so easily.

The Taylor Grazing Act seeks to provide the most beneficial use of the public range and to protect grazing rights in the districts it creates. Chournos v. United States, 10 Cir., 193 F.2d 321. Section 2 of the Act, 48 Stat. 1270, 43 U.S.C. § 315a, provides that the Secretary of the Interior shall 'make such rules and regulations * * * and do any and all things necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Act.' Pursuant to this authorization the Secretary has issued the Federal Range Code, 43 CFR § 161.1 et seq. Unauthorized grazing on the federal range and the removal of trespassing livestock is expressly provided for by § 161.11(b) of this Code:

'(b) Unlawful grazing on Federal range; removal of livestock; impoundment. Whenever the charge consists of unlawfully grazing livestock on the Fed-

Page 178

eral range, the notice served on the alleged violator * * * will order the alleged violator to remove the livestock or to cause them to be removed immediately or within such reasonable time as may be specified. If the alleged violator fails to comply with the notice the range manager may proceed to exercise the proprietary right of the United States in the Federal range, under local impoundment law and procedure, if practicable; otherwise he may refer the matter through the usual channels for appropriate legal action by the United States against the violator.'

Whenever the charge consists of unlawfully grazing livestock, this section requires that written notice, as provided by § 161.11(a),4 together with an order to remove the livestock, be served on the alleged violator. Only 'if the alleged...

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223 practice notes
  • Jennings v. United States, No. 8117.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • 4 Mayo 1961
    ...97 L.Ed. 1427; Indian Towing Co., Inc. v. United States, 1955, 350 U.S. 61, 76 S. Ct. 122, 100 L.Ed. 48; Hatahley v. United States, 1956, 351 U.S. 173, 76 S. Ct. 745, 100 L.Ed. 1065; Somerset Seafood Co. v. United States, 4 Cir., 1951, 193 F.2d 631; United States v. White, 9 Cir., 1954, 211......
  • Jayvee Brand, Inc. v. U.S., No. 82-1167
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 15 Noviembre 1983
    ...employee fails to follow obligatory procedures in applying a rule that itself is an exercise of discretion. Hatahley v. United States, 351 U.S. 173, 76 S.Ct. 745, 100 L.Ed. 1065 (1956); Beins v. United States, 695 F.2d 591, 600-01 (D.C.Cir.1982); Birnbaum v. United States, 588 F.2d 319, 329......
  • Hamilton v. Nakai, No. 26588.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 18 Enero 1972
    ...specified. Courts have held that this limitation on the remedy precludes the granting of an injunction. Hatahley v. United States, 1956, 351 U.S. 173, 182, 76 S.Ct. 745, 100 L.Ed. 1065. From these cases and statutory provisions the Navajo draw the conclusion that a remedy not specified in t......
  • Bowling v. U.S., Case No. 04-2320-JAR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • 17 Septiembre 2010
    ...someone who has not graduated from high school has questionable credibility. 77 28 U.S.C. § 2674. 78 See also Hatahley v. United States, 351 U.S. 173, 182, 76 S.Ct. 745, 100 L.Ed. 1065 (1956). 79 Haceesa v. United States, 309 F.3d 722, 726 (10th Cir.2002); Hill v. United States, 81 F.3d 118......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
223 cases
  • Jennings v. United States, No. 8117.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • 4 Mayo 1961
    ...97 L.Ed. 1427; Indian Towing Co., Inc. v. United States, 1955, 350 U.S. 61, 76 S. Ct. 122, 100 L.Ed. 48; Hatahley v. United States, 1956, 351 U.S. 173, 76 S. Ct. 745, 100 L.Ed. 1065; Somerset Seafood Co. v. United States, 4 Cir., 1951, 193 F.2d 631; United States v. White, 9 Cir., 1954, 211......
  • Jayvee Brand, Inc. v. U.S., No. 82-1167
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 15 Noviembre 1983
    ...employee fails to follow obligatory procedures in applying a rule that itself is an exercise of discretion. Hatahley v. United States, 351 U.S. 173, 76 S.Ct. 745, 100 L.Ed. 1065 (1956); Beins v. United States, 695 F.2d 591, 600-01 (D.C.Cir.1982); Birnbaum v. United States, 588 F.2d 319, 329......
  • Hamilton v. Nakai, No. 26588.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 18 Enero 1972
    ...specified. Courts have held that this limitation on the remedy precludes the granting of an injunction. Hatahley v. United States, 1956, 351 U.S. 173, 182, 76 S.Ct. 745, 100 L.Ed. 1065. From these cases and statutory provisions the Navajo draw the conclusion that a remedy not specified in t......
  • Bowling v. U.S., Case No. 04-2320-JAR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • 17 Septiembre 2010
    ...someone who has not graduated from high school has questionable credibility. 77 28 U.S.C. § 2674. 78 See also Hatahley v. United States, 351 U.S. 173, 182, 76 S.Ct. 745, 100 L.Ed. 1065 (1956). 79 Haceesa v. United States, 309 F.3d 722, 726 (10th Cir.2002); Hill v. United States, 81 F.3d 118......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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