Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement

Judge won't require Cobell opponents to post bond for appeals





Opponents of the $3.4 billion settlement to the Indian trust fund lawsuit won't have to post a bond as part of the appeal process, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

Six notices of appeal were filed after Judge Thomas Hogan approved the settlement in a written order on July 27. The Cobell plaintiffs wanted each objector to post an $8.3 million bond, citing the delays in payments to Indian beneficiaries.

But Hogan said there was no precedent to require the bond. In a 16-page decision, he took the Cobell lawyers to task for overstating their case.

"The court recognizes that sometimes a litigant's resort to persuasive writing versus objective writing leads to unwitting overzealousness in the presentation of arguments, but the plaintiffs' motion and reply brief go beyond fair advocacy and border on misrepresentation," Hogan wrote.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to expedite challenges to the settlement. But the briefing schedule will run into early 2012, meaning the payments won't go out by Christmas as had been anticipated.

Get the Story:
Judge Chides Plaintiffs' Lawyers In Indian Trust Class Action (The Blog of Legal Times 10/6)
Ruling Clears Way for Appeals of Indian Trust Deal (AP 10/6)
Judge removes hurdle to challenge of $3.4 billion Indian lands settlement (Cronkite News 10/6)
Alison Frankel's On the Case: D.C. judge chides Cobell lawyers for trying to squelch appeal (Thomson Reuters 10/6)

Relevant Documents:
Order Granting Final Approval To Settlement | Exhibit A and Exhibit B

Related Stories:
Appeals delay payments in $3.4B Indian trust fund settlement (09/29)
Cobell settlement payments face delay despite speedy appeal (09/15)
Navajo leader criticizes appeals over $3.4B Cobell settlement (9/13)
Letter: Selfish appeal delays $3.4B settlement for Cobell case (9/13)
Appeals delay distribution of $3.4B settlement to Cobell case (9/7)
Appeals planned for $3.4B settlement to Indian trust fund case (9/2)
Cobell trust beneficiaries in Utah urged to look out for scams (8/30)
Allottee group urges Navajo landowners to file claims for Cobell (08/02)
Claim forms due September 16 for $3.4B trust fund settlement (8/1)
Jodi Rave: Milestone as judge approves $3.4B Cobell settlement (07/25)
Opinion: Cobell settlement closes an unsavory chapter in history (07/15)
Interview with attorney Elliott Levitas about Cobell settlement (7/13)
Transcript posted from fairness hearing for Cobell trust fund case (7/7)
Ken Salazar: Cobell settlement a big step toward trust reform (06/28)
Letter: Attorneys take excessive fees in trust fund settlement (6/28)
Editorial: Victory with $3.4B settlement of Indian trust lawsuit (6/27)
WPR: Lac du Flambeau chair hopes BIA improves trust system (6/27)
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In These Times: Fractionation a big issue in Cobell settlement (6/27)
Ben Carnes: Cobell settlement a knife in Indian people's backs (6/22)
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Judge approves $3.4B settlement in Cobell trust fund lawsuit (6/21)
Schedule for fairness hearing for Cobell trust fund settlement (6/20)
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Judge to hold fairness hearing for Cobell trust fund settlement (6/17)
Jerilyn DeCoteau: Cobell settlement just doesn't feel right (6/6)
Fairness hearing in Cobell settlement scheduled for June 20 (5/26)