Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cobell v. Salazar Indian trust appeal of Kimberly Craven, No. 11-5205 (DC Circuit)

Update, September 1: The plaintiffs moved for an $8.3 million appeal bond to create a procedural barrier to prevent Ms. Craven from exercising her appellate rights. Unfortunately for them, such an excessive appeal bond is illegal. Their motion inexplicably failed to cite binding precedent and court rules that contradicted their position, and we have requested sanctions.
Update, September 9: The website has been updated with the plaintiffs' September 7 reply brief on the appeal bond briefing, but omits any link to Ms. Craven's response brief.

Update, September 14: We've reached an agreement with the appellees to expedite the briefing schedule for the appeal. Ms. Craven's opening brief will be due October 17; the appellees' response briefs will be due December 16; our reply brief will be due January 6. This will, one hopes, shave several months off the time for resolution of the appeal. The D.C. Circuit has agreed to this schedule. Coverage at BLT.

Update, October 6: class counsel's motion for appeal bond denied. Class counsel is ordered to produce a declaration explaining how its brief failed to cite binding precedent and misrepresented the law. Let's see how long it takes to get the district court opinion on the website.

Update, October 17: Craven's opening brief was filed today. The appellees' briefs are due December 16. I expect some amicus briefs to be filed October 24.

Update, October 26: The Competitive Enterprise Institute filed an amicus brief this week in support of Ms. Craven's appeal. More coverage at BLT.

Update, December 1: We've moved for judicial notice of a government motion to dismiss a $400 million lawsuit over Indian trust mismanagement based on the Cobell settlement. The existence of this motion supports our argument that the class certification of (and settlement distribution for) the Trust Administration class was illegal. The website took down all the briefing for the appeal bond issue rather than acknowledge the district court's ruling denying the bond and criticizing their briefing strategy, so this appears to be the first appearance of the affidavit required by the court that class counsel was required to file in November. The website also fails to identify that the briefing schedule for the 11-5270 appeals has not been set yet; the settling parties have requested that that be expedited to conclude in March, well after Ms. Craven's appeal briefing concludes. Finally, the DC Circuit granted CEI's leave to file an amicus brief.

Update, December 15:
  • Oral argument is scheduled for February 16, with a panel of Rogers/Tatel/Brown. 
  • Plaintiffs' opposition to the motion to judicial notice.
  • Monday, the government has filed a brief in Two Shields v. United States that essentially argues that class certification of the Trust Administration Class under Rule 23 was illegal for the same reasons we argued that it was illegal. We've made a second motion for judicial notice of that filing. That brief contradicts the position that the government took at the fairness hearing, so I'm curious to see what they do when they file their briefs tomorrow. Certainly, however, the Two Shields case demonstrates that this illegal settlement adversely affects more than just Kimberly Craven.
Update, December 16:
Interestingly, the plaintiffs' appendix was 446 pages. In their motion for the appeal bond, they had told the district court that they would incur $33,523.02 of photocopying costs, which appears to be off by a factor of at least 50.

Update, January 6. We filed our reply brief today. Oral argument is scheduled for February 16. Oral argument in the Good Bear appeal is scheduled May 15.

Update, August 22. On June 27, Kimberly Craven replaced us as counsel in this litigation. We are no longer counsel to Kimberly Craven in this case. We could not respond to inquiries about the litigation under normal circumstances, but there's even less reason to contact us now that we have nothing to do with it.