Some Claims against US Dismissed in Quapaw Tribal Members Trust Breach Action

Here are the materials in Goodeagle v. United States (Fed. Cl.):

DCT Order

US Partial Motion to Dismiss

Goodeagle Response

US Reply

An excerpt:

Plaintiffs in this case are Grace M. Goodeagle, Thomas Charles Bear, Edwina Faye Busby, Phyllis Romick Kerrick, Jean Ann Lambert, Florence Whitecrow Mathews, A rdi na Revard Moore, Tamara Anne Romick Parker, and Fran Wood, all of whom are enrolled members of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma. Plaintiffs commenced this action on June 28, 2012 by filing a complaint for money damages arising from Defendant’s alleged breach of fiduciary and trust obligations owed to the Quapaw Tribe and its members. The complaint contains eight causes of action.

On August 27, 2012, Defendant filed a motion for partial dismissal of the complaint, asserting that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction or that Plaintiffs had failed to state claims upon which relief can be granted. In the alternative, Defendant requested that the Court order Plaintiffs to file a more definite statement of their claims. Defendant limited its motion to the third, fifth, sixth, and eighth causes of action, and did not challenge the first, second, fourth, and seventh causes of action. Plaintiffs filed an opposition to Defendant’s motion on November 26, 2012, and Defendant filed a reply on December 23, 2012. The Court heard oral argument on June 4, 2013.

For the reasons explained below, Plaintiffs’ complaint generally meets the notice pleading requirements of Rule 8 of the Court of Federal Claims (“RCFC”) to show “a short and plain statement” of the basis for jurisdiction and Plaintiffs’ claims, as well as a demand for the relief sought. Thus, the Court denies Defendant’s request for Plaintiffs to file a more definite statement of their claims as to the third cause of action. The Court grants Defendant’s motion to the extent the third cause of action is meant to apply to more than losses under actual leases. That cause of action is not timely as to “hypothetical leases” where town lots might have been leased but were not. The Court grants Defendant’s motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ fifth cause of action, as the consequential harm to Plaintiffs’ land from the mining activities does not constitute a continuing trespass, and therefore the claim is untimely. Similarly, Plaintiffs’ sixth cause of action alleges mismanagement of trust assets, and also is untimely. Finally, the Court finds that Plaintiffs’ eighth cause of action is not ripe for adjudication, and therefore dismisses it without prejudice.

This entry was posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Research, trust relationship and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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