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Quapaw Tribe of Okla. v. Blue Tee Corp.

ELR Citation: 40 ELR 20244
Nos. No. 03-cv-0846, (N.D. Okla., 08/20/2010) Motion to dismiss, denied

A district court held that the state of Oklahoma is not an indispensable party in a Native American tribe's action for natural resources damages against the successor entities of mining companies that operated in the former Tri-State Mining District. The natural resources at issue are located solely on tribal lands and do not fall within the regulatory authority of the state. Even if the court were to assume that the state claimed an interest in the subject matter of this case, dismissal would not be appropriate under Fed. R. Civ. P. 19(b). The fourth Rule 19(b) factor weighs most heavily against dismissal, and if this case were dismissed, the tribe would have no recourse for harm to natural resources located solely on Tribal land unless the state also chose to join a lawsuit. The court, therefore, denied the companies' motion to dismiss for failure to join required parties.

[A prior decision in this litigation can be found at 39 ELR 20050.]