Mille Lacs Band Case Law Reporter

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B.M. v. P.J., 1998-APP-0001 (May 22, 1998)

The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the District Court dismissing a child custody dispute for lack of jurisdiction as the minor children were not domiciled or residing on the Band's territory.

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe v. Daniel Boyd Sr., 1998-APP-0003 (October 6, 1998)

Holding that Band law requires full faith and credit be given to orders of other jurisdictions that recognize Mille Lacs Band judgments, and that by operation of Public Law 280, Mille Lacs County had concurrent jurisdiction to hear a child support action initated in state court by a Band member residing on the reservation, the Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's order granting full faith and credit to the county's order, even though the defendant had no contact with Mille Lacs County.

T.H. v. J.D., 1999-APP-0003 (May 1, 2000)

Mother appealed District Court's denial of her petition to attach the father's entire Band bonus to pay for child support for their two minor children. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision holding that given that the father, the non-custodial parent, was only supported by public assistance, the mother can only be awarded a percentage of the bonus calculated in accordance with the decision in Sam v. Anderson, 99-FA-0014 and 8 MLBSA § 2006.

Beverly Nayquonabe v. Mille Lacs County, 1999-APP-0005 (May 5, 2000)

Band member who was convicted of a felony theft by the Mille Lacs County Court was fined and ordered to pay restitution but failed to do so. The County Administrator filed a registration of foreign judgment and the District Court ordered the attachment of the Band member's Christmas Bonus. On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court holding that the full faith and credit statute, 24 MLBSA § 2009, does not authorize granting full faith and credit to a foreign criminal judgment.

T.B. v. D.S., 2000-APP-0004 (September 12, 2006)

Father appealed the award by the District Court of joint legal custody, and sole physical custody of the parties' children to their mother. The Court of Appeals held, that in the absence of Band statutes, customs or traditions, or relevant federal law, Minnesota law that does not conflict with Band customs and traditions governs. The Court remanded the matter to the trial court for amended detailed findings on each of the factors of Minnesota statute 257.025(a) to be considered in the determination of the best interests of the children.

David Niib Aubid v. Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians, 2003-APP-0001 (February 24, 2005)

Plaintiff was denied candidacy for the position of District II Representative to Band Assembly and filed for injunctive relief. The Court of Appeals ruled that the Band enjoys sovereign immunity, but tribal officials are not shielded from equitable actions. The Court ordered that the plaintiff be informed of the reasons for the denial of his candidacy, if similarly situated candidates for Band office were certified, and if so, how plaintiff's circumstances differ from prior candidates who were certifed. The Court further ordered that the plaintiff is entitled to know if there is a process for bringing his residence in line with the Band's definition of "Reservation" as required in order to be a candidate.

Loretta Kalk v. Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Corporate Commission, 2003-APP-0003 (September 16, 2004)

Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of her personal injury claim by the District Court for her failure to file the action within the three-year time period prescribed by 24 MLBSA § 2013(a). The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision, ruling that there was insufficient evidence to justify estopping the defendant from asserting the defense of statute of limitations, that the plaintiff was not denied due process based on irregularities in the proceedings, and the three-year statute of limitations is consistent with the Band's traditional theory of law and judicial philosophy.

S.S. v. L.B., 2008-APP-0004 (November 24, 2008)

The Court of Appeals upheld in part and reversed in part, the District Court's decision that a father was obligated to pay child support for a period of time when the children had primarily resided with him because he consciously decided not to seek a modification of the existing custody order. The District Court erred in requiring the father to continue paying child support from the time he filed his motion to modify custody.

New Horizon Kids Quest III, Inc. v. Gaming Regulatory Authority Board, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians, 2008-APP-0006 (February 25, 2010)

The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the District Court finding that the Gaming Regulatory Authority Board did not abuse its discretion when it revoked a casino childcare provider's vendor license after an unattended nine-year-old child seriously injured a three-year-old child.

Mushkoob v. General Election Board of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, 2008-APP-0008 (January 2, 2009)

Plaintiff, who finished second in a primary election to fill the vacancy in the Chief Executive's position, filed an election contest alleging numerous election irregularities, including the spoiling of ballots. The Court of Appeals, in its exercise of original jurisdiction, denied plaintiff's claim finding that he failed to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that any election irregularities occurred.

Melanie Benjamin v. Joint Session of the Mille Lacs Band, et al., 2009-APP-0001 (August 19, 2009)

Plaintiff's claim for emergency injunctive relief from the Joint Session's refusal to certify her as a Special Election candidate to fill the vacant Chief Executive's position, which was filed three days after the election took place, was dismissed based on the equitable doctrine of laches by the District Court. The Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling that the plaintiff had unreasonably delayed the assertion of her known right.

Allen W. Hemming v. Interim Chief Executive Marge Anderson, et al., 2009-APP-0002 (October 20, 2009)

Plaintiff filed for a writ of mandamus seeking the Court of Appeals to exercise its original jurisdiction to order a new election for the position of Chief Executive. After reconsidering its order invalidating the special election results, the Court of Appeals dismissed the application for the writ ruling that the special election results remained intact and the mandamus relief requested was deemed moot.

Mary S. Bohanon v. Interim Chief Executive Marge Anderson, et al., 2009-APP-0003 (October 20, 2009)

Plaintiff filed for a writ of mandamus seeking the Court of Appeals to exercise its original jurisdiction to order a new election for the position of Chief Executive. After reconsidering its order invalidating the special election results, the Court of Appeals dismissed the application for the writ ruling that the special election results remained intact and the mandamus relief requested was deemed moot.

Howard Johnson v. Interim Chief Executive Marge Anderson, et al., 2009-APP-0004 (October 20, 2009)

Plaintiff filed for a writ of mandamus seeking the Court of Appeals to exercise its original jurisdiction to order a new election for the position of Chief Executive. After reconsidering its order invalidating the special election results, the Court of Appeals dismissed the application for the writ ruling that the special election results remained intact and the mandamus relief requested was deemed moot.

Larry Benjamin v. Interim Chief Executive Marge Anderson, et al., 2009-APP-0005 (October 20, 2009

Plaintiff filed for a writ of mandamus seeking the Court of Appeals to exercise its original jurisdiction to order a new election for the position of Chief Executive. After reconsidering its order invalidating the special election results, the Court of Appeals dismissed the application for the writ ruling that the special election results remained intact and the mandamus relief requested was deemed moot.

Dana Fahrlander v. Interim Chief Executive Marge Anderson, et al., 2009-APP-0006 (October 20, 2009)

Plaintiff filed for a writ of mandamus seeking the Court of Appeals to exercise its original jurisdiction to order a new election for the position of Chief Executive. After reconsidering its order invalidating the special election results, the Court of Appeals dismissed the application for the writ ruling that the special election results remained intact and the mandamus relief requested was deemed moot.

James Mitchell v. Interim Chief Executive Marge Anderson, et al., 2009-APP-0007 (October 20, 2009)

Plaintiff filed for a writ of mandamus seeking the Court of Appeals to exercise its original jurisdiction to order a new election for the position of Chief Executive. After reconsidering its order invalidating the special election results, the Court of Appeals dismissed the application for the writ ruling that the special election results remained intact and the mandamus relief requested was deemed moot.

Rhonda Mitchell v. Interim Chief Executive Marge Anderson, et al., 2009-APP-0008 (October 20, 2009)

Plaintiff filed for a writ of mandamus seeking the Court of Appeals to exercise its original jurisdiction to order a new election for the position of Chief Executive. After reconsidering its order invalidating the special election results, the Court of Appeals dismissed the application for the writ ruling that the special election results remained intact and the mandamus relief requested was deemed moot.

Esther Marie Paschke v. Interim Chief Executive Marge Anderson, et al., 2009-APP-0009 (October 20, 2009)

Plaintiff filed for a writ of mandamus seeking the Court of Appeals to exercise its original jurisdiction to order a new election for the position of Chief Executive. After reconsidering its order invalidating the special election results, the Court of Appeals dismissed the application for the writ ruling that the special election results remained intact and the mandamus relief requested was deemed moot.

In the Matter of Kristian Oyen, Attorney at Law, 2010-APP-0001 (March 24, 2010)

Exercising its disciplinary authority, the Court of Appeals suspended attorney for one year, fined him $200.00, and ordered him to reimburse his client. The Court found that he failed to adequately represent his client, failed to file a court-ordered memorandum of law and proposed order, was less than honest with the District Court regarding his alleged submission of documents, and he attempted to blame a volunteer for his shortcomings. Suspended attorney was further ordered to provide proof of completion of a professional ethics course prior to being re-admitted to practice.

Herb Weyaus v. General Election Board of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, 2010-APP-0002 (June 25, 2010)

The Court of Appeals, exercising its original jurisdiction, denied Secretary-Treasurer candidate's election contest finding that he failed to provide any evidence that any Band members voted at their own District and also by absentee ballot at District 1, or that any other election irregularities occurred.

In Re the Matter of the Welfare of A.B., 2011-APP-0001 (June 6, 2011)

Reversing the District Court's dismissal of the Band's Child in Need of Protection or Services petition for lack of jurisdiction without even permitting a hearing, the Court of Appeals held that Title 8 MLBSA § 3111(b)(1), (2) provides the Children's Court, with jurisdiction over Band members under the age of eighteen years and over persons under the age of eighteen years who are eligible to become Band members, regardless of whether they reside or are domiciled on the reservation.

Merle Skinaway Jr. v. Carleen Benjamin, 2011-APP-0003 (April 5, 2012)

Plaintiff appealed the District Court's judgment denying him damages for pain and suffering caused by a cut to his upper lip by the defendant's dog. The Court of Appeals affirmed finding that plaintiff failed to include a claim for pain and suffering in his original complaint, he did not amend his complaint, and he did not present any evidence at trial to support the claim.

Angela D. Roby v. Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, et al., 2011-APP-0004 (March 29, 2012)

Appointed Commissioner of Finance filed suit seeking six months severance pay at the completion of her four-year appointment. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's dismissal of her claim finding that even though the District Court had subject matter jurisdiction, there was no waiver of the Band's sovereign immunity that allowed for the exercise of that jurisdiction.

Christine Costello v. Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians, 2011-APP-0007 (May 31, 2012)

The Mille Lacs Band appealed the District Court's reversal of the Grievance Commission's decision upholding the termination of the employment of the Director of the Mille Lacs Band Workforce Center. The employee cross-appealed the District Court's ruling that Ordinance 14-10 did not authorize an award of monetary damages or reinstatement to her former position. The Court of Appeals held that the Mille Lacs Band clearly and unequivocally waived its immunity to permit the District Court to review decisions of the Grievance Committee, but the Band did not authorized the award of monetary damages or reinstatement of employment for wrongful termination.

Raymond Stern v. Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, 2011-APP-0008 (March 29, 2012)

The Mille Lacs Band appealed the District Court's reversal of the Grievance Committee's decision upholding the termination of a health clinic employee for conducting an unauthorized pregnancy test on a pre-employment urine drug screen and sharing the test results with other employees. Considering de novo the District Court's conclusions of law, the Court of Appeals reversed and found that the testing and disclosure of the results were violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act, as no exception to HIPAA's privacy rules applied and no consent to the testing and sharing of results had been obtained.

Amanda L. Skinaway vs. Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, 2011-APP-0009 (November 14, 2011)

The District Court entered a default judgment against the defendant when she failed to appear and issued a fine. The defendant's notice of appeal requested that the criminal hearing be rescheduled and that the fine be converted into community service work. Finding that the defendant's requests were in the nature of the relief that would ordinarily be sought in a motion to the District Court for reconsideration of a default judgment, the Court of Appeals remanded what it construed as a motion for reconsideration to the District Court.

Herb Weyaus v. General Reservation Election Board of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, 2012-APP-0001 (July 6, 2012)

Exercising its original jurisdiction to hear election contests, the Court of Appeals denied the contest of unsuccessful candidate for Chief Executive as being untimely filed by one day, ruling that the Band's limited waiver of immunity from suit must be construed strictly and adherence rigidly enforced. The Court also rejected the contestant's argument that the Court could not serve as the Election Contest Court, finding that the Band has ultimate authority to determine which entity shall hear election contests and this determination is binding on the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians v. Daniel L. Smith, 2013-APP-0001 (May 20, 2013)

The Mille Lacs Band appealed the District Court's reversal of the Mille Lacs Band Grievance Committee's decision upholding the termination of an employee for being uninsurable under the Band's general liability insurance policy due to a conviction for driving while under the influence two years prior. The Court of Appeals reversed the District Court, ruling that decisions of the Grievance Committee are reviewed under a deferential abuse of discretion standard and that the Band was not required to apply progressive discipline where no other discipline could enable employee to retain his position.

In the Matter of the Welfare of V.R.B., 2013-APP-0002 (February 4, 2014)

The Court of Appeals granted minor child's grandparents' appeal of the District Court's decision appointing non-relative, non-Mille Lacs Band members as the child's permanent guardians. Ruling that the District Court erred in appointing permanent guardians without any request to do so by the parties, and finding that there were insufficient grounds to justify deviation from the Band's placement preferences, the Court reversed the guardianship order.

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Housing Department v. Bonita Lucas, 2014-APP-0001 (November 7, 2014)

The Court of Appeals granted the Mille Lacs Band Housing Department's motion to depart from the procedure ordered by the District Court for unlawful detainer cases, holding that the jurisdictional and procedural provisions of 21 MLBSA §§ 301-312 remained intact following the enactment of 12 MLBSA §§ 115-122, and that original and exclusive jurisdiction remained with an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals from the district in which the case arose acting pursuant to the title of "Magistrate." The Court also ruled that the applicability of 12 MLBSA §§ 101-122, "Native American Veteran Direct Loan Program," is restricted to U.S. Veterans Administration loans.

J. C. v. J. M., 2014-APP-0003 (September 10, 2014)

The District Court awarded joint and legal custody of the plaintiff's minor children in accordance with a joint stipulated agreement, with the direction that the parents work through disputes with the guardian ad litem prior to bringing them to the District Court. The Court of Appeals dismissed the plaintiff's appeal finding that he had failed to first present the dispute to the guardian ad litem and affirmed the trial court's custody decision.

In the Matter of the Guardianship of C.J.B., 2014-APP-0004 (November 7, 2014)

The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's dismissal of grandmother's petition for guardianship of a child, holding that a guardianship is not "necessary and convenient" when a fit and willing parent is willing to resume custody. Given that the child had been placed in foster care with grandmother for two and one-half years, the Court remanded to the trial court with instructions to ensure that grandmother has independent visitation rights and the right to refile for guardianship should the child be removed from parental custody in the future.

K.L. vs. Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, 2014-APP-0007 (January 30, 2015)

The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's decision finding defendant in contempt of Court for not appearing at the hearing and for failing to file annual reports on her child's conservatorship account. In dismissing the appeal, the Court held that failure to appear at the trial court hearing constituted a waiver of issues which cannot be asserted for the first time on appeal.

Lorelei Benjamin v. Irene Benjamin, 2015-APP-0001 (July 6, 2015)

The Court of Appeals dismissed defendant's appeal of the District Court's entry of a harassment restraining order against her finding that there was sufficient credible evidence of a threat against the plaintiff to justify the order. Defendant's failure to seek recusal of the trial judge prior to the proceeding was a waiver of the issue.

In the Matter of the Welfare of J.D-S., M.D-S., L.D-S., 2015-APP-0002 (December 9, 2015)

The Mille Lacs Band appealed the District Court's denial of its motion for default judgment and dismissal of a child protection petition. The Court of Appeals found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion, but the trial court did err in dismissing the petition and restoring parental custody. The Court held that dismissing a petition without a formal trial is not a remedy when a parent fails to appear.

Darlene Savage v. Irene Wade Benjamin, 2016-APP-0001 & 2016-APP-0002 (June 3, 2016)

Defendant appealed the District Court's entry of an harassment order against her and an order that she pay the plaintiff ten dollars for a CD of a court recording. The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal for failure to appear for oral argument, and found sufficient evidence to justify the entry of the harrassment order and the ten dollar restitution award.

Irene Wade Benjamin v. General Reservation Election Board, 2016-APP-0003 (May 9, 2016)

The Court of Appeals dismissed challenge to primary election by a contester who was eligible to vote but was not permitted to vote, because she did not established by clear and convincing evidence that had she been allowed to vote, the election's outcome would have been different.

Wanetta Thompson v. General Reservation Board, 2016-APP-0004 (May 9, 2016)

Primary election candidate for Chief Executive's position failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that violations of the Election Ordinance changed the outcome of the election. The Court of Appeals dismissed the challenge and affirmed the primary election results.

Suzanne Wise v. General Reservation Election Board, 2016-APP-0005 (May 9, 2016)

Candidate's contest to primary election is dismissed by the Court of Appeals for her failure to establish by clear and convincing evidence that violations of the Election Ordinance occurred or that anything occurred that changed the outcome of the election.

Jordan Jo Moose v. Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Housing Department, 2016-APP-0006 (March 17, 2017)

Tenant's appeal of a District Court's amended judgment for unlawful detainer and trespass was found to be timely and the Court of Appeals remanded for consideration of whether the overall result of the proceeding was fair and just, and whether all of the fees and charges incurred were justified and appropriate.