United States District Court, District of Columbia
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, JUDGE
Cayuga Nation is a federally recognized Indian Nation. This
case deals with decisions by the Bureau of Indian Affairs
(“BIA”) and the Assistant Secretary for Indian
Affairs of the Department of the Interior (“DOI”)
that recognized one faction within the Cayuga Nation-now
referring to itself as the “Cayuga Nation Council,
” though alternatively referred to in the
administrative record as the “Halftown Group”-as
the governing body of the Cayuga Nation for the purposes of
certain contractual relationships between that Nation and the
United States federal government. These decisions were the
product of an adversarial process between the Cayuga Nation
Council and Plaintiffs, a rival faction within the Cayuga
Nation who assert that they represent the Nation's
rightful government. Plaintiffs have filed this lawsuit
seeking to overturn the BIA and DOI decisions.
Court shall address two pending motions in this Memorandum
Opinion: Federal Defendants'  Partial Motion to
Dismiss, and Plaintiffs'  Motion to Supplement the
Administrative Record. Upon consideration of the pleadings,
 the relevant legal authorities, and the
record as a whole, the Court GRANTS Federal Defendants'
Partial Motion to Dismiss and DENIES Plaintiffs' Motion
to Supplement the Administrative Record.
case arises from a long-standing dispute between rival
factions within the Cayuga Nation. Plaintiffs allege that the
Cayuga Nation has long been governed by a Council of Chiefs
selected and overseen by “Clan Mothers, ” whom
Plaintiffs purport to represent in this litigation. Compl.,
ECF No. 1, ¶¶ 1-2. Plaintiffs assert that
“Cayuga Nation leaders are selected pursuant to the
Great Law of Peace, which gives that responsibility of
nomination and removal to the women who serve as Clan
Mothers, based on input from the members of their
clans.” Id. ¶ 31. According to
Plaintiffs, this is a “deliberative and
consensus-based” process for selecting leaders.
Id. ¶ 33. Plaintiffs allege that the United
States federal government had previously recognized this form
of governance for the Cayuga Nation, and rejected efforts
over the years by a faction known as the “Halftown
Group” to secure support for the use of a mail-in
survey to reconfigure the Cayuga Nation's government.
Id. ¶¶ 34-36.
in June 2016, Defendant Bruce W. Maytubby, the Eastern
Regional Director of the BIA, revealed to Plaintiffs that the
Halftown Group intended to conduct a mail-in survey in order
to create a new government for the Cayuga Nation, and that it
was Mr. Maytubby's view that the proposed survey
“would be a viable way of involving the Cayuga people
in a determination of the form and membership of their
government.” Id. ¶¶ 37, 40.
Plaintiffs contend that this determination was the result of
secret meetings between the BIA and the Halftown Group, from
which Plaintiffs were excluded. Id. ¶ 38.
Plaintiffs objected to the proposed survey, arguing that,
among other things, it violated Cayuga law. Id.
December 15, 2016, Defendant Maytubby issued a decision
“(1) recognizing the Halftown Group as the government
of the Cayuga Nation for purposes of entering into a contract
under the ISDEAA [Indian Self-Determination and Education
Assistance Act] and declining to recognize Plaintiffs for
such purposes; (2) awarding an ISDEAA contract grant to the
Halftown Group, on behalf of the Cayuga Nation; and (3)
declining to award an ISDEAA contract to [Plaintiffs] on
behalf of the Cayuga Nation.” Id. ¶ 54.
Plaintiffs characterize this decision as a reversal of
“longstanding federal policy, ” and challenge it
on a number of substantive and procedural grounds.
Id. ¶¶ 55-81.
Maytubby's December 15, 2016 decision indicated that it
constituted final agency action, id., Ex. A at 15,
and was accompanied by a delegation of authority to Mr.
Maytubby to take such action, id. ¶ 55.
Nonetheless, Plaintiffs did not file a lawsuit challenging
this decision when it was issued. Instead, Plaintiffs filed a
notice of appeal with the Interior Board of Indian Appeals
(“IBIA”) arguing that additional administrative
review was appropriate because the delegation of authority to
Defendant Maytubby to take final agency action was
ineffective. Id. ¶¶ 82-83. The IBIA
docketed the appeal and requested briefing on the delegation
issue. Id. ¶¶ 84-85. Shortly thereafter,
Defendant Michael Black, the then-Acting Assistant Secretary
- Indian Affairs, withdrew the contested delegation to Mr.
Maytubby, and himself assumed jurisdiction over
Plaintiffs' administrative appeal. Id.
¶¶ 86-87. The parties submitted briefs on the
merits of the dispute to Defendant Black, who ultimately
issued a decision on July 13, 2017, denying Plaintiffs'
appeal of Defendant Maytubby's decision. Id.
September 20, 2017, Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit, claiming
that Defendants had violated the Administrative Procedure Act
(“APA”) and Plaintiffs' constitutional right
to due process. Id. ¶¶ 100-65. As relief,
Plaintiffs ask that both Mr. Maytubby's decision and Mr.
Black's decision be declared unlawful and vacated, that
the Court enjoin Defendants from relying on the vacated
decisions for any action by the DOI, that the individuals
involved in rendering these decisions be enjoined from
further adjudicating the questions in this case, that this
matter be remanded to the BIA “for government to
government consultation and, as appropriate, decision by a
neutral decision-maker on recognition and the Plaintiffs'
ISDEAA application, ” and that they be granted costs
and attorneys' fees. Id. at 26-27.
Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction
motion to dismiss a complaint under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(1) is filed, a federal court is required to
ensure that it has “the ‘statutory or
constitutional power to adjudicate [the] case[.]'”
Morrow v. United States, 723 F.Supp.2d 71, 77
(D.D.C. 2010) (emphasis omitted) (quoting Steel Co. v.
Citizens for a Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 89
(1998)). “Federal courts are courts of limited
jurisdiction” and can adjudicate only those cases or
controversies entrusted to them by the Constitution or an Act
of Congress. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). In determining whether
there is jurisdiction on a motion to dismiss, the Court may
“consider the complaint supplemented by undisputed
facts evidenced in the record, or the complaint supplemented
by undisputed facts plus the court's resolution of
disputed facts.” Coal. for Underground Expansion v.
Mineta, 333 F.3d 193, 198 (D.C. Cir. 2003) (citations
omitted). “Although a court must accept as true all
factual allegations contained in the complaint when reviewing
a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), ” the
factual allegations in the complaint “will bear closer
scrutiny in resolving a 12(b)(1) motion than in resolving a
12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim.”
Wright v. Foreign Serv. Grievance Bd., 503 F.Supp.2d
163, 170 (D.D.C. 2007) (citations omitted).
Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim
Rule 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a pleading on the
grounds that it “fail[s] to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
“[A] complaint [does not] suffice if it tenders
‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further
factual enhancement.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007)). Rather, a complaint
must contain sufficient factual allegations that, if accepted
as true, “state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “A
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Motion to Supplement the ...