United States District Court, D. Nevada
TIMOTHY AARON JOHN, TRAVIS RAY JOHN, TIFFANY LYNNAE JOHN, TYRONE FRED JOHN, SHIRLEY L. PALMER, LESLIE L. PALMER, JALEEN M. FLOWERS, and JESSE WADE PALMER, Plaintiffs,
THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, through its Acting Assistant Secretary, BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, its officers, servants, agents, employees, representatives, and attorneys, Defendants.
R. HICKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Aaron John, Travis Ray John, Tiffany Lynnae John, Tyrone Fred
John, Shirley L. Palmer, Leslie L. Palmer, Jaleen M. Flowers,
and Jesse Wade Palmer (collectively, “the
plaintiffs”) move for an order that compels the
Secretary of the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of
Indian Affairs (“BIA”) (collectively, “the
defendants”) to enter into a stipulation and that
orders the matter remanded with instructions to enter the
plaintiffs on the Western Shoshone judgment roll. ECF No. 19
(corrected image at ECF No. 21). The defendants opposed the
motion, and the plaintiffs filed a reply. ECF No. 24, 25. The
court now denies the motion.
Western Shoshone Claims Distribution Act was passed in 2004.
Pub L. 108-270, 118 Stat. 805. To make a claim for recovery
under the Act, a person must be placed on the Western
Shoshone judgment roll. Id. To be placed on the
judgment roll, the person must be at least ¼ blood
quantum level of Western Shoshone. Id.
plaintiffs applied to be placed on the judgment roll based on
their heritage, claiming their common grandparents (Fred
Hicks, Sr. and Leona Mina Dyer) were both ½ blood
quantum level of Western Shoshone. ECF No. 21. The BIA denied
the plaintiffs' applications for their failure to be
¼ blood quantum level of Western Shoshone.
Id. The BIA also denied the subsequent appeals.
plaintiffs therefore sued the defendants for violations of
due process, of equal protection, of the Administrative
Procedure Act, and the Freedom of Information Act. ECF No.
14. On the defendants' motion and against the
plaintiffs' objection, the case was remanded to the
Secretary of the Interior for development of the
administrative record in February 2015. ECF Nos. 4, 18.
defendants failed to update the plaintiffs regarding their
applications for over two years after the order remanding the
case to the Secretary of the Interior. ECF No. 21. the
plaintiffs move for an order compelling the defendants to
stipulate to adding the plaintiffs on the judgment roll and
for an order remanding the matter with instructions that the
Secretary of the Interior add the plaintiffs to the judgment
roll. ECF No. 19. The defendants have since denied the
plaintiffs applications again, stating the plaintiffs do not
qualify based on their less than ¼ blood quantum level
of Western Shoshone. ECF No. 24, 25.
plaintiffs ask the court to compel the defendants to
stipulate to adding the plaintiffs onto the judgment roll
based on the “unlawfully withheld or unreasonably
delayed” decision and based on the defendants'
stipulation in a similar case to add plaintiffs to the
judgment roll. ECF No. 21. But the plaintiffs fail to cite to
any law that would support such an order. See ECF
when an agency unlawfully withholds or unreasonably delays a
decision, a court may compel the agency to make a decision on
the plaintiffs' claims. See Hein v. Capitan
GrandeBand of Diegueno Mission Indians, 201 F.3d 1256,
1261 (9th Cir. 2000). But a court cannot compel a certain
result. Mt. St. Helens Mining & Recovery Ltd.
P'ship v. United States, 384 F.3d 721, 728 (9th Cir.
2004). Granting the plaintiffs' motion would amount to
compelling a certain result in this matter.
the plaintiffs' reliance on a stipulation in a similar
district court case does not affect the court's decision
to deny the plaintiffs' motion. See Direct Lineal
Descendants of Jack v. Sec'y of the Interior, No.
3:13-cv-657-RCJ-WGC, 2014 WL 5439781 (D. Nev. Oct. 24, 2014)
(reinstating and enforcing a binding stipulation previously
entered into by the parties and then approved by the court).
Unlike the similar district court case, the parties in this
case did not enter into a voluntary stipulation. The court
denies the plaintiffs' motion accordingly.
in their reply, the plaintiffs suggest that the
administrative record used to reach the recent decision to
deny the plaintiffs' applications should be filed to
allow the plaintiffs an opportunity to challenge the
defendants' decision as arbitrary and capricious. ECF No.
25. The court agrees. The defendants are ordered to file the
administrative record that was developed on remand.
THEREFORE ORDERED that plaintiffs' Motion for an Order
Compelling Defendants to Enter into a Stipulation and Order
Remanding to Agency with Instructions to Enter Plaintiffs