Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of Fort Hall v. Shalala

Decision Date12 December 1997
Docket NumberNo. CV-96-459-ST.,CV-96-459-ST.
Citation988 F.Supp. 1306
PartiesSHOSHONE-BANNOCK TRIBES OF THE FORT HALL RESERVATION, Plaintiff, v. Donna E. SHALALA, Secretary of the United States Health and Human Services; Michael H. Turjillo, Director of the Indian Health Service, United States Department of Health and Human Services; Douglas Black, Director of Office of Tribal Activities, Indian Health Service; James R. Floyd, Portland Area Director, Indian Health Service, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Oregon

Lori Irish Bauman, Ater Wynne Hewitt Dodson & Skerritt, Portland, OR, Lloyd Benton Miller, James E Glaze, Sonosky Chambers Sachse Miller & Munson, P.C., Anchorage, AK, for Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation.

Kristine Olson, U.S. Atty.'s Office, Portland, OR, Daniel Bensing, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Civil Div., Washington, DC, Sheila M Lieber, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Civil Div.-Fed. Prog. Branch, Washington, DC, for Secretary Department of Health and Human Services.

Kristine Olson, U.S. Atty.'s Office, Portland, OR, Daniel Bensing, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Civil Div., Washington, DC, Sheila M Lieber, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Civil Div.-Fed. Prog. Branch, Washington, DC, Eric Mahr, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, DC, Sheila M Lieber, Washington, DC, for Indian Health Services.

Kristine Olson, U.S. Atty.'s Office, Portland, OR, Daniel Bensing, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Civil Div., Washington, DC, for Michael H Trujillo.

OPINION

STEWART, United States Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation ("Shoshone-Bannock Tribes"), is a federally recognized "tribal organization" under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, as amended, 25 U.S.C. §§ 450a-450n ("ISDEA"), with tribal headquarters located in Fort Hall, Idaho. The Complaint contains ten claims for relief for declaratory and injunctive relief and monetary damages based on violations of various provisions of the ISDEA by the following defendants:

Donna E. Shalala, Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") ("Secretary");

Michael H. Trujillo, Director, Indian Health Service ("IHS");

Douglas Black, IHS Director of Office of Tribal Activities; and

James R. Floyd, former IHS Portland Area Director.1

The alleged violations concern the allocation and timing of release of funds by IHS to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes for the operation of certain health care services for fiscal year ending September 30, 1996 ("FY 1996").

This court has jurisdiction pursuant to 25 U.S.C. § 450m-1(a) and 28 U.S.C. § 1331. All parties have consented to allow a Magistrate Judge to enter final orders and judgment in this case in accordance with FRCP 73 and 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).

Now before this court are the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (docket # 30) and defendants' cross Motion for Summary Judgment (docket # 37). The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes have agreed to dismiss without prejudice their First and Second Claims (concerning the Fort Hall Service Unit administrative shares) because they are moot and the Third and Fifth Claims (concerning the adjusted 70/30 formula to allocate funds and the Fort Hall Service Unit Transitional Amount) because they are not yet ripe. Thus, the cross-motions for summary judgment are directed at the six remaining claims.

For the reasons that follow, the parties' motions are granted in part and denied in part.

II. UNDISPUTED FACTS

Although no party submitted a concise statement of material facts in support of its summary judgment motion, as required under Local Rule 220-9(a), the bulk of facts surrounding this dispute as alleged in the Complaint either are admitted in the Answer or are treated as undisputed in the parties' submissions. The undisputed facts are as follows:

A. IHS Organization

IHS, a part of HHS, provides or funds a wide array of inpatient, outpatient, community health and other health care services for the benefit of approximately 1.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives throughout the United States, including the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. IHS has three administrative levels which service the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes: (1) the Headquarters Office located primarily in Rockville, Maryland, which manages 12 Area Offices; (2) the Portland Area Office for Idaho, Washington, and Oregon located in Portland, Oregon, which services 41 tribes; and (3) the local Fort Hall Service Unit located in Fort Hall, Idaho, which directly services the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.

B. ISDEA

1. Title I Contracting Process

In 1975, Congress adopted the ISDEA. This law shifted control over federal programs serving tribes from IHS to the tribes themselves. The primary means for this transfer is the Title I contracting process. Title I directs the Secretary, at the request of any tribe or tribal organization, to enter into a "self-determination contract" to "plan, conduct and administer" any IHS program. 25 U.S.C. § 450f(a)(1). Title I governs the process from the initial proposal through to IHS' funding and oversight of the program after a contract is approved.

Within 90 days after receipt of a contract proposal from a tribal organization, the Secretary must award a contract under Title I "unless the Secretary provides written notification to the applicant that contains a specific finding that clearly demonstrates" that one of the following five specific declination criteria applies:

(A) the service to be rendered to the Indian beneficiaries of the particular program or function to be contracted will not be satisfactory;

(B) adequate protection of trust resources is not assured;

(C) the proposed project or function to be contracted cannot be properly completed or maintained by the proposed contract;

(D) the amount of funds proposed under the contract is in excess of the applicable funding level for the contract, as determined under section 450j-1(a) of this title; or

(E) the program, function, service, or activity ... that is the subject of the proposal ... includes activities that cannot lawfully be carried out by the contractor.

25 U.S.C. § 450f(a)(2).

If the Secretary declines to enter into a self-determination contract, she must "state any objections in writing," "provide assistance to the tribal organization to overcome the stated objections," and allow a "hearing on the record" with "full discovery" and "the opportunity to appeal." 25 U.S.C. § 450f(b). Although the Secretary may partially decline a contract proposal that "proposes in part to plan, conduct, or administer a program, function, service, or activity that is beyond the scope of programs covered" by Title I or "proposes a level of funding that is in excess of the applicable level," she nonetheless "shall approve any severable portion of a contract proposal that does not support a declination finding." 25 U.S.C. § 450f(a)(4).

2. Funding

The ISDEA requires that funding for a self-determination contract "shall not be less than the appropriate Secretary would have otherwise provided for the operation of the programs" covered by the contract. 25 U.S.C. § 450j-1(a)(1). This is commonly referred to as the "Secretarial Amount." The ISDEA forbids the Secretary from reducing the amount of funding for virtually any reason except a reduction in appropriations or tribal authorization:

Notwithstanding any other provision in this Act, the provision of funds under this Act is subject to the availability of appropriations and the Secretary is not required to reduce funding for programs, projects, or activities serving a tribe to make funds available to another tribe or tribal organization under this Act.

25 U.S.C. § 450j-1(b).

Until 1988, the Secretarial Amount only included funds for the direct operation of health care programs. Although a tribe contracted to operate a particular program at the Service Unit level, IHS maintained its administrative operations at the Area and Headquarters levels. However, subsequent amendments to the ISDEA broadened the scope of self-determination contracts.

In 1988, Congress added Title III to the ISDEA which permits tribes to take over comprehensive responsibility to plan, conduct, consolidate, administer, and even redesign all health care programs, services and functions previously provided by IHS. Title III compacts are funded by Annual Funding Agreements. The 1988 amendments also required the Secretary to provide "contract support costs" to cover administrative overhead and other specified indirect costs associated with a particular program under a self-determination contract. 25 U.S.C. § 450j-1(a)(2). In addition, a new provision conferred jurisdiction on the federal district courts over any civil action or claim under the ISDEA. 25 U.S.C. § 450m-1(a).

In October 1994, Congress enacted additional amendments known as the Indian Self-Determination Contract Reform Act of 1994, Title I, Public Law 103-413. Among other changes, those amendments enabled tribes to contract with IHS to take over IHS Area Office and Headquarters Office administrative functions for the Service Unit programs which they have contracted to operate. 25 U.S.C. § 450j-1(a)(1). Because IHS's administrative components support all IHS health care programs and all tribes, a tribe may take over only that portion of the administrative components supporting the particular Service Unit program for which the tribe has contracted to operate. That amount is referred to as the "tribal share." Consequently, the "Secretarial Amount" now includes both funds for operation of a particular program, as well as any connected tribal share, i.e. the Area and Headquarters administrative functions that support the program. The 1994 amendments also extensively detailed the types of contract support costs that must be paid. 25 U.S.C. § 450j-1(a)(2...

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