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 In 1997, Hobbs Straus lawyers assisted the Susanville Indian Rancheria become one of the first tribes in the country to use the provisions of ISDEAA to successfully acquire Department of Army surplus property in trust under the Base Realignment and Closure Act.

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Broken Trust. Recovered Loss.

Placing a Value on the Government's Word

In the late sixties, the Quinault Tribe of the Pacific Northwest watched in dismay as the United States government sold its valuable timber at under-market prices. The Quinault quickly organized and mobilized. Their legal action made it all the way to the Supreme Court where founding partner Charles Hobbs, along with Marsha Schmidt, argued and won the precedent-setting case of United States v. Mitchell, 463 U.S. 206 (1983). The Supreme Court held that the United States must pay damages when it mismanages Indian trust property, which led to an award of $27 million. This groundbreaking case set the foundation for the modern recognition of the federal trust responsibility.  

At Hobbs Straus, we handle litigation and consulting services on a wide variety of claims alleging government mismanagement of Indian trust assets including coal, oil and gas, tribal funds, grazing lands, and other resources. We challenge the federal government to adhere to the law.

Photograph by Don Kashevaroff

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