Hoopa Valley Tribe v. United States, No. 568-77.

CourtCourt of Federal Claims
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
Citation596 F.2d 435
PartiesThe HOOPA VALLEY TRIBE v. The UNITED STATES.
Docket NumberNo. 568-77.
Decision Date21 March 1979

596 F.2d 435

The HOOPA VALLEY TRIBE
v.
The UNITED STATES.

No. 568-77.

United States Court of Claims.

March 21, 1979.


596 F.2d 436

Jack Tomlinson, San Francisco, Cal., for plaintiff; Neil R. Bardack, Tomlinson & Bardack, Michael Kip Maly and Murphy, Weir & Butler, San Francisco, Cal., of counsel.

James E. Brookshire, Springfield, Va., with whom was Asst. Atty. Gen. James W. Moorman, Washington, D.C., for defendant; C. David Redmon, of counsel.

Before DAVIS and KUNZIG, Judges.

ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO RETRANSFER AND DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

PER CURIAM:

This case comes before the court on plaintiff's request for review by the court of the recommended decision of Trial Judge David Schwartz, filed July 13, 1978, on plaintiff's motion to retransfer the case to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and on defendant's motion to dismiss the petition (complaint). Oral argument has been had and the court has also considered the written briefs of the parties. Since the court agrees with the recommended decision of the trial judge, as hereafter set forth, it affirms and adopts that decision, together with the following supplemental paragraphs, as the basis for its judgment in this case.

1. On the question of the jurisdiction of the District Court and of this court, we add the following to the trial judge's discussion (which, as stated above, we adopt): As the trial judge points out, it is by now firmly established that, where the prime effort of the complaining party is to obtain money from the Federal Government, this court's exclusive jurisdiction over non-tortious claims (above $10,000) cannot be evaded or avoided by framing a District Court complaint to appear to seek only injunctive, mandatory, or declaratory relief against Government officials or the Federal Government. See American Science & Engineering, Inc. v. Califano, 571 F.2d 58 (1st Cir. 1978), and cases cited; Sherar v. Harless, 561 F.2d 791, 793-94 (9th Cir. 1977); Alabama Rural Fires Ins. Co. v. Naylor, 530 F.2d 1221, 1226-30 (5th Cir. 1976); International Engineering Co., Div. of A-T-O, Inc. v. Richardson, 167 U.S.App.D.C. 396, 512 F.2d 573 (1975), cert. denied, 423 U.S. 1048, 96 S.Ct. 774, 46 L.Ed.2d 636 (1976); Warner v. Cox, 487 F.2d 1301 (5th Cir. 1974); Mathis v. Laird, 483 F.2d 943 (9th Cir. 1973). Here, the objective of the suit is obviously to force payment by the Government to plaintiff (and its members) of all the monies derived from the timber of the Square of the Hoopa Valley Reservation, instead of the lesser share due plaintiff (and its members) under Short v. United States, 486 F.2d 561, 202 Ct.Cl. 870 (1973), cert. denied 416 U.S. 961, 94 S.Ct. 1981, 40 L.Ed.2d 313 (1974). The jurisdiction of this court over this kind of suit is as clear as it was in Short, supra, and the multitude of other cases seeking payment from the Treasury of monies to one or another Indian tribe or Indian individuals.1 Conversely, under the

596 F.2d 437
authorities cited supra, the District Court lacks jurisdiction of this action (even though framed purely in equitable or declaratory terms) which attempts, in direct impact, to obtain these monies from the Treasury.2

2. On the merits, we agree with the trial judge (for the reasons he gives) that, with one possible exception, all of the issues now raised by plaintiff3 were decided adversely to it in the Short litigation, and cannot now be pursued because of the doctrines of collateral estoppel and res judicata. Counts I and II of the complaint basically raise issues litigated and determined against plaintiff in Short — as Trial Judge Schwartz demonstrates.4 Plaintiff had a full and fair opportunity to litigate each of those issues before this court made its determination, and application of collateral estoppel is in no way unfair. See Parklane Hosiery Co. v. Shore, ___ U.S. ___, 99 S.Ct. 645, 58 L.Ed.2d 552 (1979). The precise issue presented in Count III did not arise before this court's first determination in Short but issues underlying and determining that particular question were litigated and decided in Short; moreover, plaintiff has been (on its own intervention) a party to all proceedings in the Trial Division since the court's liability decision in Short, 486 F.2d 561, 202 Ct.Cl. 870 (1973), cert. denied, 416 U.S. 961, 94 S.Ct. 1981, 40 L.Ed.2d 313 (1974), and could and should have presented, in that litigation, the apportionment problem it now seeks to raise in Court III. Cf. Restatement (Second) of Judgments § 56.1(2) ("Effect of Failure to Interpose Counterclaim") (Tent. Draft No. 1, 1973).

The one issue now presented by plaintiff which may not have been directly litigated and decided in Short is whether the United States is liable to the Hoopa Valley Tribe because, over a period of years, the Government told the Tribe that the latter alone owned the timber of the Square and this court later determined otherwise when other Indians brought suit in the Short litigation. But that unusual contention need not detain us long. The first thing to note is that the Government fought extremely hard against the Short plaintiffs (to the extent of seeking review in the Supreme Court) and attempted as long as it reasonably could to vindicate its position that the Square timber belonged only to the Hoopa Valley Tribe (and its members). Also, it is impossible to say that the Government's position was frivolous, insubstantial or unreasonable; indeed, plaintiff Hoopa Valley Tribe should be the last to take such a position5 since it, too, fought mightily

596 F.2d 438
(through different counsel) in Short for the other result and the Tribe still considers our conclusion to be wrong (as shown by other parts of plaintiff's argument in this very case). The United States, having at all times acted reasonably, cannot be convicted of breach of trust to the Hoopas because this court subsequently held that it was wrong in its belief as to sole Hoopa ownership and our ruling forced a change in distribution of the timber revenues. See United States v. Mason, 412 U.S. 391, 397-400, 93 S.Ct. 2202, 37 L.Ed.2d 22 (1973). Plaintiff's breach-of-trust claim simply has no valid foundation

Accordingly, on the basis of the trial judge's opinion as supplemented above, plaintiff's motion to retransfer to the District Court is denied, the defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint (which we treat as a petition in this court) is granted, and the petition is dismissed.

OPINION OF TRIAL JUDGE

SCHWARTZ, Trial Judge:

The plaintiff, Hoopa Valley Tribe, has moved under 28 U.S.C. § 1506 (1976) to retransfer this case to the District Court for the Northern District of California, as a case within the exclusive jurisdiction of that court. On motion of the United States the district court had previously transferred the case to this court under 28 U.S.C. § 1406(c) (1976), as a case within this court's exclusive jurisdiction. The motion has been heard, and this recommended opinion and decision is filed, pursuant to an order of reference of March 21, 1978.

In the Tribe's complaint, as filed in the District Court, the named defendants were the Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The prayer was for equitable and declaratory relief. The district court, nevertheless, ruled that "this action is essentially one for a money judgment against the United States, and the Court of Claims has exclusive jurisdiction over this action see Mathis v. Laird, 483 F.2d 943, 944 (9th Cir. 1973)." Hoopa Valley Tribe v. Andrus, No. C-76-1405 RHS (N.D.Cal. Oct. 20, 1977). The district court thereupon substituted the United States for the named defendants and transferred the case to this court.

In moving to retransfer, plaintiff contends, as it did in the district court, that the action seeks only equitable and declaratory relief against Government officers, and is thus within the exclusive jurisdiction of the district court under 28 U.S.C. § 1331(a) as amended by Act of Oct. 21, 1976, Sec. 2, Pub.L. 94-574, 90 Stat. 2721, and 28 U.S.C. §§ 1361-1362 (1976) and 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706 (1976), especially § 702 as amended by Act of Oct. 21, 1976, Sec. 1, Pub.L. 94-574, 90 Stat. 2721.

A second motion, by the Government, seeks the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of res judicata or collateral estoppel. This motion originated in the hearing on the motion to retransfer, where much of the Government's argument was to the effect that the Tribe was seeking to relitigate issues decided against it in Short v. United States, 486 F.2d 561, 202 Ct.Cl. 870 (1973), cert. denied, 416 U.S. 961, 94 S.Ct. 1981, 40 L.Ed.2d 313 (1974), to which the Tribe responded that jurisdiction, and not res judicata, was the only issue before the court on the motion to retransfer. The trial judge thereupon invited the Government to move to dismiss the complaint on the ground of res judicata, so that all the contentions could be considered at one time. The motion was made, referred to the Trial Division by order of May 26, 1978, and both motions have now been briefed.

Both parties urge that issues decided by the district judge should not be reconsidered. The Tribe argues against disturbance of the district court's denial of the Government's motion for summary judgment on the ground of res judicata. The Government argues against disturbance of the district court's denial of its own jurisdiction. Neither argument is persuasive. A transcript of proceedings before the district judge shows sufficiently that he would be willing to reconsider the matter of jurisdiction, if the Court of Claims sent the case back. As for the district judge's decision on res judicata, if that ruling is the law of the

596 F.2d 439
case, it is nevertheless not conclusive. Since the district judge could reconsider the matter upon a retransfer, it may here be reconsidered. Besides, the district judge could not have been as familiar as this...

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33 practice notes
  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. US, BUR. OF INDIAN AFF., Civ. No. 86-3014.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
    • 21 Junio 1989
    ...229, 233 (10th Cir.1981); Sherar v. Harless, 561 F.2d 791, 793-94 (9th Cir.1977); Hoopa Valley Tribe v. United States, 219 Ct.Cl. 492, 596 F.2d 435, 436 (1979). Section 1346(a)(2), however, does not bar this Court from consideration of claims not seeking damages against the United States. I......
  • Beller v. Middendorf, Nos. 77-1354
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 23 Octubre 1980
    ...1496, 59 L.Ed.2d 769 (1980); Jaffee v. United States, 592 F.2d 712, 717 (3d Cir. 1979). See also Hoopa Valley Tribe v. United States, 596 F.2d 435, 436-37 (Ct.Cl.1979). Since the posture of this case does not require us to resolve these issues definitively, we simply reaffirm that sovereign......
  • Hondros v. U.S. Civil Service Com'n, No. 82-1334
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 13 Octubre 1983
    ...Seitz. But analytically I do not think this case falls squarely within the principle of Page 303 Hoopa Valley Tribe v. United States, 596 F.2d 435, 436, 219 Ct.Cl. 492 (1979), or the decisions which require immediate referral to the Court of Claims when a case contains no substantial nonmon......
  • Hahn v. U.S., No. 84-1007
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 16 Abril 1985
    ...633 F.2d 799, 802 (9th Cir.1980), cert. denied, 451 U.S. 970, 101 S.Ct. 2047, 68 L.Ed.2d 349 (1981); Hoopa Valley Tribe v. United States, 596 F.2d 435, 436, 219 Ct.Cl. 492 (1979). But this is not such a case. The injunctive relief sought by plaintiffs, though it may ultimately require expen......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
33 cases
  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. US, BUR. OF INDIAN AFF., Civ. No. 86-3014.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
    • 21 Junio 1989
    ...229, 233 (10th Cir.1981); Sherar v. Harless, 561 F.2d 791, 793-94 (9th Cir.1977); Hoopa Valley Tribe v. United States, 219 Ct.Cl. 492, 596 F.2d 435, 436 (1979). Section 1346(a)(2), however, does not bar this Court from consideration of claims not seeking damages against the United States. I......
  • Beller v. Middendorf, Nos. 77-1354
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 23 Octubre 1980
    ...1496, 59 L.Ed.2d 769 (1980); Jaffee v. United States, 592 F.2d 712, 717 (3d Cir. 1979). See also Hoopa Valley Tribe v. United States, 596 F.2d 435, 436-37 (Ct.Cl.1979). Since the posture of this case does not require us to resolve these issues definitively, we simply reaffirm that sovereign......
  • Hondros v. U.S. Civil Service Com'n, No. 82-1334
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 13 Octubre 1983
    ...Seitz. But analytically I do not think this case falls squarely within the principle of Page 303 Hoopa Valley Tribe v. United States, 596 F.2d 435, 436, 219 Ct.Cl. 492 (1979), or the decisions which require immediate referral to the Court of Claims when a case contains no substantial nonmon......
  • Hahn v. U.S., No. 84-1007
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 16 Abril 1985
    ...633 F.2d 799, 802 (9th Cir.1980), cert. denied, 451 U.S. 970, 101 S.Ct. 2047, 68 L.Ed.2d 349 (1981); Hoopa Valley Tribe v. United States, 596 F.2d 435, 436, 219 Ct.Cl. 492 (1979). But this is not such a case. The injunctive relief sought by plaintiffs, though it may ultimately require expen......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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