Macarthur v. San Juan County

Decision Date12 October 2005
Docket NumberNo. 2:00 CV 584 J.,2:00 CV 584 J.
Citation391 F.Supp.2d 895
PartiesDr. Steven MACARTHUR, et al., Plaintiffs, v. SAN JUAN COUNTY, et al., Defendants; Donna Singer, Fred Riggs, and Allison Dickson, Plaintiffs, v. San Juan County, San Juan Health Services District, Commissioner Tyron Lewis, Commissioner Bill Redd, Craig Halls, Richard Bailey, Reid Wood, Roger Atcitty, John Lewis, Karen Adams, Patsy Shumway, and Lauren Schafer, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Utah

Susan Rose, Sandy, UT, for Plaintiffs.

Jesse C. Trentadue, Michael W. Homer, Thomas B. Price, Suitter Axland, Kathleen M. Liuzzi, Dunn & Dunn, Blaine J. Benard, Carolyn Cox, Holme Roberts & Owen, Christine T. Greenwood, Magleby & Greenwood PC, Robert R. Harrison, David W. Slagle, Snow Christensen & Martineau, Salt Lake City, UT, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

JENKINS, Senior District Judge.

                                                  TABLE OF CONTENTS
                  I.  THE ISSUES ON REMAND .........................................................902
                 II.  PRÉCIS .......................................................................902
                III.  PROCEDURAL HISTORY ...........................................................903
                 IV.  THE CLAIMS OF THE PART II PLAINTIFFS .........................................908
                      A.  Ms. Donna Singer .........................................................909
                      B.  Mr. Fred Riggs ...........................................................912
                      C.  Mr. Allison Dickson ......................................................915
                      D.  The Nature of Plaintiffs' Claims .........................................917
                      E.  Plaintiffs' Supplemental Pleading ........................................919
                
                  V.  THE NAVAJO COURT ORDERS ......................................................920
                      A.  The December 28, 1999 Order ..............................................921
                          1.  Findings re: Mr. Riggs ...............................................921
                          2.  Findings re: Ms. Singer ..............................................922
                          3.  Findings re: Mr. Dickson .............................................923
                          4.  Preliminary Relief Under the December 28, 1999 Order .................923
                      B.  The March 1, 2000 Order ..................................................926
                      C.  The March 6, 2000 Order ..................................................929
                 VI.  THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF NAVAJO SOVEREIGNTY ..................................930
                      A.  Inherent Navajo Tribal Sovereignty .......................................930
                          1.  "Domestic Dependent Nations" .........................................930
                          2.  Inherent Tribal Powers ...............................................934
                          3.  Tribal Sovereignty & Federal Indian Policy ...........................940
                      B.  Oliphant, Montana & Implied Divestiture of Tribal Sovereignty ............946
                          1.  Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe ...................................946
                          2.  Montana v. United States & its Exceptions ............................950
                          3.  Civil Jurisdiction Over Non-Indians Reaffirmed .......................953
                      C.  Navajo Sovereignty & Self-Government .....................................955
                          1.  The Navajo Treaty of 1868 ............................................955
                          2.  Subsequent Legislation Enlarging the Navajo Reservation...............959
                          3.  A Tale of Two Treaties: Montana & the 1933 Act .......................960
                          4.  The Navajo Nation Government .........................................963
                      D.  Navajo Sovereignty & the Navajo Courts ...................................966
                          1.  Creation of the Navajo Court System ..................................966
                          2.  Jurisdiction of the Navajo Courts ....................................968
                          3.  Navajo Court Jurisdiction Over Non-Indian Defendants .................968
                          4.  Montana & the NPEA in the Navajo Courts: the Manygoats Case...........971
                      E.  The Navajo Preference in Employment Act (NPEA) ...........................975
                          1. "At-Will" Employment vs. "Just Cause" Tenure ..........................976
                          2.  NPEA Protection for Non-Navajo Spouses ...............................979
                          3.  Administrative Enforcement of the NPEA ...............................979
                          4.  Singer, et al. v. San Juan County, et al. and the NPEA's
                                Exhaustion Requirement .............................................981
                      F.  Navajo Tort Law ..........................................................982
                VII.  ENFORCEMENT OF THE NAVAJO COURT ORDERS IN THIS
                       FORUM........................................................................985
                      A.  Theories re: the Navajo Court's Subject-Matter Jurisdiction in Singer
                            et al. v. San Juan County, et al. ......................................986
                          1.  Navajo Court Jurisdiction as a Federal Question ......................986
                          2.  Subject-Matter Jurisdiction Over the County and Health District
                               Defendants Under the Montana Exceptions .............................988
                                 (i) Plaintiffs' Theory re: Jurisdiction ...........................988
                                (ii) San Juan County's Theory re: Jurisdiction .....................990
                               (iii) The Health District's Theory re: Jurisdiction .................992
                      B.  Analysis & Conclusions re: the Navajo Court's Subject-Matter
                            Jurisdiction in Singer, et al. v. San Juan County, et al. ..............993
                          1.  Montana & the Plaintiffs' "Congressional Presumption" ................993
                          2.  The Defendants' Reading of Montana ...................................996
                          3.  The Navajo Court's Findings of Jurisdictional Facts ..................998
                                 (i) Fred Riggs ...................................................1001
                                (ii) Allison Dickson ..............................................1001
                               (iii) Donna Singer .................................................1001
                                (iv) San Juan County ..............................................1004
                                 (v) San Juan County Commissioners ................................1005
                                (vi) San Juan County Attorney Craig Halls .........................1005
                               (vii) County Administrator Richard "Rick" Bailey ...................1006
                
                              (viii) Summary re: the County Defendants ............................1006
                                (ix) San Juan Health Services District ............................1007
                                 (x) Health District Board Members ................................1012
                                (xi) Roger Atcitty ................................................1012
                               (xii) Lauren "Laurie" Schafer ......................................1013
                              (xiii) Reid Wood ....................................................1014
                               (xiv) Summary ......................................................1015
                      C.  Navajo Court Judgments in the Federal Courts ............................1015
                          1.  Comity vs. Full Faith and Credit ....................................1015
                          2.  Full Faith and Credit, Comity & the Problem of Non-Final
                                Judgments .........................................................1023
                          3.  Final Judgments Under Navajo Law ....................................1025
                          4.  Preliminary Injunctive & other Equitable Relief in the Singer, et
                                al. v. San Juan County, et al. Navajo Court Orders ................1026
                      D.  Attorney's Fees Awards Under Navajo Law .................................1029
                      E.  Plaintiffs' Standing re: Navajo Patients ................................1030
                      F.  Governmental Immunity & The Health District Defendants...................1033
                          1.  The October 30, 2000 Decision & Law of the Case .....................1033
                          2.  State Sovereign Immunity & Tribal Courts ............................1035
                          3.  The Utah Governmental Immunity Act ..................................1037
                          4.  Counterclaims & the Waiver of State Immunity ........................1040
                          5.  The Health District's Counterclaim ..................................1041
                          6.  Sovereign Immunity & Reciprocity ....................................1042
                          7.  Plaintiffs' Claims & the Utah Governmental Immunity Act..............1045
                                 (i) Contractual Claims ...........................................1045
                                (ii) Intentional Tort Claims ......................................1046
                               (iii) Civil Rights Claims ..........................................1048
                          8.  Summary .............................................................1052
                SUMMARY & CONCLUSION ..............................................................1052
                

The original complaint filed in this action asserted claims by fifteen plaintiffs, including Donna Singer, Fred Riggs, and Allison Dickson.1 (See Complaint (Verified), filed July 25, 2000 (dkt. no 1).) These three plaintiffs' claims were addressed early in this litigation by Judge Kimball, the district judge then assigned to this case, who entered orders dismissing their claims against San Juan County, the San Juan Health Services District and various individual defendants on the grounds that neither the County nor the Health District had waived their sovereign immunity from suit in tribal court, and that individual employee defendants likewise remained immune from suit under Utah law absent allegations of fraud or malice. The court dismissed their claims against Truck Insurance and R....

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