Native Sun News: Law firm ordered to provide documents

The following story was written and reported by Evelyn Red Lodge. All content © Native Sun News.

RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA — A federal court has ordered the Gonzalez Law Firm to turn over documents to Alltel Communications they say are pertinent to their case.

Attorney Terry Pechota represents Mario Gonzalez and his firm in defense of the charge of contempt of court. In Pechota’s brief, filed last week, he said his clients hands are tied – in reference to a court order for Gonzalez to turn over privileged tribal documents and provide testimony.

The case involves Gonzalez as a non-party to an out of state case filed by Alltel against a former Alltel employee. Also, the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s documents were subpoenaed for the same reason and as non-party to this suit.

Attorneys for Alltel contended information for their Arkansas suit can only be retrieved from OST and Gonzalez Law – and the information is central to their suit.

Court documents contend Eugene DeJordy breached a severance contract with Alltel in several ways. One allegation listed is DeJordy supported/assisted OST in lawsuits against them. Alltel seeks to recover the lump sum severance payment of $2 million made to Dejordy citing the breach.

In January, the subpoenas were issued, and in February, federal court ordered Gonzalez to turn over the requested documents. In March, Gonzalez, OST, and OST Attorney Joseph Red Cloud jointly filed an appeal in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Minnesota.

The court of appeals then issued an order granting Alltel’s motion to dismiss Gonzalez Law Firm from the appeal.

Gonzalez’ second motion to quash the subpoena is based on attorney/client privilege and sovereign immunity. Shortly after, the federal district court requested Gonzalez to withdraw his motion which he did.

Pechota argues Gonzalez is between a rock and a hard place as Gonzalez does not have authority to waive OST sovereign immunity. He claims sovereign immunity is also extended to the tribe’s employees, agents, and attorneys.

Pechota added, “Compliance with the subpoena is impossible.” Furthermore, the order “enforcing the subpoena is flawed,” because “the [Gonzalez] Firm was acting as a representative of the tribe.”

Pechota also argues the documents Alltel requested are protected under attorney/client privilege which attaches several ethical obligations. He informed the court last week he will file an appeal if an adverse decision is made as to Gonzalez’ sovereign immunity.

Gonzalez has worked under contract as Special Counsel and Acting General Counsel for OST since 2000.

Privileged information about other unresolved tribal litigation with Alltel is at stake if the subpoena is allowed to stand.

(Contact Evelyn Red Lodge at

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