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Cobell v. Babbitt

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


December 21, 1999

ELOISE PEPION COBELL, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
BRUCE BABBITT, SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, LAWRENCE SUMMERS, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, AND KEVIN GOVER, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, DEFENDANTS.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiffs have advised this court that they have decided that the mediation ordered by this court on October 14, 1999, has no hope of success. Accordingly, that mediation is hereby terminated. The stay of issuance of the court's Memorandum Opinion regarding the trial that concluded in July 1999, is hereby VACATED. All other provisions (including the requirements of confidentiality) of the October 14, 1999, order shall remain in full force and effect.

Plaintiffs, on December 10, 1999, filed a motion to reopen the Trial record to file the Special Master's Report of December 3, 1999, and to take discovery into the matters raised in the Special Master's Report, regarding late notification of the destruction of 162 boxes of potentially relevant Treasury Department files. The court finds that the new evidence plaintiffs seek to add is essentially cumulative, and the relevant points arising from such evidence have been adequately considered by the court and are adequately set forth in the trial record. This new evidence will not affect the outcome of the trial--which this court can easily determine since this was a bench trial--and there is simply no reason for another delay of weeks--or likely months for preparation of a Supplemental Report and comments thereon by all interested persons, and responses thereto--before this court moves on to the next phase of this litigation. Accordingly, plaintiffs' motion is DENIED.

In denying plaintiffs' motion, this court intends in no way to denigrate its view of the government's misconduct regarding the 162 boxes incident, as noted in the court's December 6, 1999, order placing the Special Master's Report on the public record. Nevertheless, this court has ample power to deal with such misconduct, as this court has demonstrated in the past, and to hold accountable those individuals and agencies who are responsible for the misconduct. All of that has been fully taken into account in today's ruling on the trial, since the basic contours of the misconduct were all known at the time of the trial and the new Special Master Report simply adds cumulative information.

SO ORDERED.

Royce C. Lamberth United States District Judge

19991221

© 2000 VersusLaw Inc.



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