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 featuring our attorneys and cases
 as reported on the web, in newspapers, television, & radio broadcasts
 across Indian Country.
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FERC turns down Hoopa Tribes's Klamath dams petition

"the effort is not quite over, according to attorney Thomas Schlosser." "the tribe will be petitioning for a rehearing before FERC"

Wyden's Klamath Water Bill Gets Hearing in DC

"Hoopa tribal attorney Tom Schlosser says the pacts prioritize water for Oregon irrigators at the expense of fish."

Lower Klamath Tribes speak against new Klamath Legislation

"Tom Schlosser, attorney for the Hoopa Tribe, explained Wednesday that the tribe believes Wyden's Senate Bill
S. 2379 would eliminate the Bureau of Reclamation's duty to protect tribal trust resources 'too little water remains for fish'"

Trinity River water releases halted until hearing next week

"Tom Schlosser is a Seattle-based attorney for the Hoopa Valley Tribe and thinks the judge is likely to side with the tribes, the fishing groups and the federal government.  'My gut instinct is they'll deny the temporary restraining order.' Schlosser said, 'They've got to show they've raised serious legal questions and I don't know that they have.' "

2013 Sponsor of Sycuan Pow-Wow

"Morisset, Schlosser, Jozwiak & Somerville sponsor 24th Annual Sycuan Pow-Wow

Federal Judge hears Quechan Tribe's case on Ocotillo Wind Project harm to sacred sites

"Quechan's attorney [Thane Somerville] argued that the BLM's argument 'allows them to wait for a project, then choose the least restrictive class.'  He called that approach 'arbitrary and capricious' and noted that NEPA requires management to protect visual resources.  He added that Class L designation allows only those multiple uses that allow management for protection of visual as well as cultural resources."

Klamath dams: Hoopa Tribe files petition with FERC

"It's not the Tribe's objective to kill the agreements," said Tom Schlosser, attorney for the Hoopa Tribe. "We have scientists who reviewed the agreement and calculated how much water would trickle down to us and it wouldn't even be enough to satisfy the flow requirements of the Endangered Species Act." Schlosser added that FERC has never officially approved the process by which PacifiCorp has obtained its annual temporary CWA 401 certification.

Hoopa Steps Up Pressure on Feds Over Klamath Dams

"[Tom] Schlosser, the Hoopa Valley Tribe's attorney, told the Lost Coast Ouptost this morning that this is more or less bunk. It may be true that the commission has never out-and-out told an operator to pull out its dams, he said, but in many cases operators have decided that the terms and conditions FERC places on new licenses are more costly than the dams are worth." "The river and the fishery are suffering, and PacifiCorp is making money they're not entitled to, " he said. "FERC ought to do something about this."

Hoopa Valley Tribal Members Show Solidarity on Settlement

The tribe's attorney, Tom Schlosser, gave a half-hour update on tribal legal efforts at the forefront of the tribe's work. It's not a final settlement," Schlosser said, "This money may never be received. I think it will. But the person with the signatory authority for the United States has not signed (U.S. Assistant Attorney General, Ignacia Moreno.)"


Hoopa Valley Tribe v. U.S.

"According to Tom Schlosser, attorney for the Hoopa Valley Tribe, this new claim had its roots in Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma v. United States, filed in the Court of Federal Claims in 1970 and settled in 1975. The case is cited as 512 F.23d 1390 (1975). " "That case was really the basis and foundation of this new case and settlement," said Schlosser.

Scientists find holes in Klamath River Dam removal plan

"The agreements have strong critics, including the Hoopa Valley tribe, which refused to sign. 'The agricultural practices that led to salmon being threatened in the system are the agricultural practices that will be continued,' argued Tom Schlosser, a Seattle attorney who represents the tribe. He cited provisions that call for the continued leasing of wildlife refuge lands for farming and substantial water diversions for irrigation."

Hoopa Tribe Establishes Fish Commission

"Attorney, Tom Schlosser presented an overview of court cases and legal opinions that affect the Hoopa Tribe's aboriginal fishing and water rights."

California's Hupa Tribe Wars over Fish

"Tom Schlosser, the tribe's attorney, says commercial fishing was legalize by the 1989 referendum."

Hoopa Valley Tribe v. United States

"According to long-time attorney for the Hoopa Valley Tribe, Tom Schlosser, it was filed because the Bush Administration refused to extend the time frame for such cases."



Hoopa vs. FERC

"Attorney Tom Schlosser didn't seem all that worried last week."


Legal Woes block big Imperial Valley Solar Project

"The land on which the project is planned was set aside for conservation 30 years ago, Thane Somerville, a lawyer for the Quechan said during Monday's meeting."

Tribe Sues for 'Exposure Event' at Hospital

"The tribe seeks declaratory judgment that the IHS 'has violated and is violating its statutory, legal, fiduciary, and trust duties to the tribe and its members'" The tribe is represented by Frank Jozwiak and Thane Somerville with Morisset, Schlosser & Jozwiak."


Hydropower in the Northwest, Thursday,  November 4, 2010, Seattle, Washington

"Join our panel of professionals as they examine the Federal Power Act, FERC procedures, the status of national litigation and Northwest power projects, and the impact of climate change, Indian Treaty rights, and fish conservation requirements."



Stan Jones Has Been a Force Like No Other for Tulalip Tribes

"Mason Morisset, a Seattle lawyer who specializes in tribal treaty rights, said Jones, a lifelong fisherman, and fellow tribal member Bernie Gobin brought important knowledge, testimony and negotiating savvy in the 1970s to the bitter court fight that ended with the Boldt decision. Restoring treaty rights, the verdict awarded several tribes half the salmon in their 'usual and accustomed fishing grounds.' It has been expanded to include more authority over habitat that affect the fisheries and over access to shellfish"


Be Careful What You Wish For, A Court Case Suggests

'While the Osage Allotment Act reflected a "policy of assimilation," it did not contain language of disestablishment of the reservation, said Thomas P. Schlosser, attorney for the Osage. No surplus lands were sold to non-Indians and no portion of the reservation was opened to non-Indian settlement.'


How Taking Out Dams Splits Environmental Groups

"Seattle attorney Tom Schlosser, who represents the [Hoopa] tribe, explains that 'it's not a dam-removal agreement. It's a planning process.'"

Klamath HydroElectric Settlement Agreement

"[Thomas] Schlosser stated that dam removal would take too long, and PacifiCorp will be able to operate without any licensing or oversight."


A River Runs Through It Old Adversaries agree to remove dams in the Klamath River basin


"downriver flows during many of the years between now and 2020 won't be enough to sustain coho salmon, Schlosser says. By the time the dams come out, we could very well have lost the coho completely."


Tribes, State will Return to Court Over Salmon

"The tribes are trying to come up with a plan, but the state's idea is that they'll just continue at the current rate," he (Mason Morisset) said. "That's obviously not acceptable."


Tribe Still Seeking Casino in Lordstown, Plan Awaits Obama Policies

Mason Morisset, the Seattle-based lawyer who represents the Shawnee tribe, said that case, Carcieri v. Salazar, wouldn't apply to his clients.

Dam Deal Close After Most of a Century

Mason Morisset, an attorney for the (Skokomish) tribe, told The News Tribune that talks between the parties are "cordial" and "productive," but they are "not there yet.

Federal and State Officials Sign NonBinding Deal to Remove Klamath River Dams

"It's just nutty to commit to this with Bush heading out the door," said Tom Schlosser, an attorney for the Hoopa tribe of Northern California.


Tacoma: Dam if we do

"Morisset suggests that the ruling 'sent shivers through the entire industry.' Tribal attorneys have told him that it 'has also resulted in numerous decisions in favor of tribes'."

Is it Hoopa v Yurok, Hoopa & Yurok or none of our damn business?

"Hoopa's attorney, Tom Schlosser, says the Hoopa's own waiver does not prevent it from filing its lawsuit because the settlement act allows each tribe to enforce the act's provisions."

Fish and Chips

"the Trinity Restoration Act set the goal that the fishery would be restored to conditions that existed before the Lewiston and Trinity dams were built"
Tom Schlosser, an attorney for the Hoopa Valley Tribe reached by telephone Tuesday afternoon, reiterated the tribe’s concern about there being no set standards for fish restoration.


Hasting sponsors bill to protect study of Kennewick Man

"could make it easier for tribes to make claims to get remains back that currently are in an institution"

Ruling Could Give More Say to State Tribes

The tribes signed the treaty with assurances that they would be able to continue to rely on natural resources, including vast forests and streams teeming with salmon, said Mason Morisset, a Tulalip Tribes attorney.

Culvert Ruling Backs Tribes

"This could be very big," said Mason Morisset, an attorney representing tribes in the case. "If it stands, you will see tribes assert themselves on a broad range of activities to protect the habitat. Whether it's clearing wetlands or building roads and developments ..., if we can show you are going to have a net loss of habitat, that is a treaty rights violation."


Ruling Could Cost State Millions

"I think it is a major addition to the treaty rights cases," Morisset said. "It is the other half of the treaty we said needs to be secured. Not only does the state have to allow the tribes to take their share of their fish, but the state cannot allow the fish runs to be destroyed if it affects the tribal share."

Judge Rules Against Quechan in Refinery Land Transfer Case

Frank R. Jozwiak, the attorney representing the Quechan in the case, said, "(Teilborg's ruling ) is under review. We have not had an opportunity to study the ruling or consult with the tribe."

Judge Refuses to Allow Other Parties into Tribe Settlement with Lima

Eastern Shawnee attorney Rob Roy Smith, of Seattle, said the tribe is looking to move forward and is waiting for the judge to give the final approval.

Activity halts on land for oil refinery

With the recent court hearing, the defendants agreed to the temporary restraining order sought by the tribe, said Frank R. Jozwiak, the attorney representing the Quechans in the case.

Shawnee Claiming victory in land case

According to the tribe's attorney Mason D. Morisset, recognizing the settlement means Eastern Shawnee can now take the next step in developing casinos.

Tribe claims it's right where it wants to be with land claims

Tribe attorney Mason D. Morisset said Carr's willingness to oversee the settlements was a win for the tribe and still meant it could approach the U.S. Department of the Interior to have the land taken into trust.

Tribal warfare between Hoopa and Yurok go on and on

"Here we go again," said the tribe's longtime attorney, Thomas Schlosser. "The only thing the Interior Department has accomplished here is to create another round of litigation."

Quechan file suit to stop refinery land transfer

The bureau's environmental impact statement fails to "adequately evaluate the oil refinery project and the associated impacts to cultural and environmental resources," according to the Quechan Tribe's lead attorney, Frank Jozwiak of Morisset, Schlosser, Jozwiak and McGaw of Seattle, Wash., in the statement.

Tribes pursue rights in court

Mason Morisset, an attorney for the Tulalip Tribes, said he'd speak to Tulalip leaders about the offer, but he said it's unclear whether such talks would be fruitful. "This has been going on for years."

Tribe names Lawrence in land-claim lawsuit

"Potentially, we could have sued tens of thousands of people, but that's absurd so what we did was bring a cross section," Morisset said.

Ohio wants to rejoin tribe's lawsuit over land for casino

"We dismissed them, " Morisset said. "I don't know why we would want them back."

Canadian firm liable under Superfund law for non-U.S. dumping

"While any Superfund-controlled cleanup of the Columbia River would involve polluted areas only in the United States, the group filed its brief in protest of the Canadian government's failure to control Teck's hazardous waste disposal activities,"  said Mr. Smith, a senior associate at Morisset, Schlosser, Jozwiak & McGaw in Seattle.

Tribe drops state from lawsuit

"We're trying to get the case in order and simplify it here, and this is one of the steps we're taking," Morisset said.

Tribe seeks day in Court

Many of the defendants sought the lawsuit's dismissal in separate motions, some arguing that the claim is too old, others that it's not old enough, and none with valid arguments, wrote Mason Morisset and Rob Roy Smith, attorneys for the tribe.

Filing deadline passes in tribe's federal lawsuit

"We're filing a responsive brief," said Mason Morisset, attorney for the tribe. "Today is the day for our files, our briefs. It's just a standard response to the motion (to dismiss.)"

Council ok's casino resolution

Council had a special meeting with Chief Charles Enyart and Mason Morisset, lead counsel for the tribe.

Tribe gives city time

 Mason Morisset, lead counsel for the Eastern Shawnee of Oklahoma, told City Council Friday morning it wasn’t fair to put pressure on them to get the 14-page contract signed by Monday. Morisset said the deadline was real – and that the judge has set a “very busy” brief schedule.
“I wanted to go to him with some signed agreements to show that a settlement is possible,” he explained.

Shinnecock Nation Is Recognized, Federal ruling could be a step forward

Tom Schlosser, a partner in the firm Morisset, Schlosser, Jozwiak, and McGaw, which specializes in federal Indian law, said that "any determination of federal recognition isn't going to mean much until federal agencies accept it." Mr. Schlosser said a 1975 case, in which the Passamaquoddy Tribe successfully sued the Secretary of the Interior for refusing to recognize it, could be a relevant model for further action by the Shinnecocks, if there is resistance to add them to the federal register.

Fate of Kennewick Man study unclear

Rob Roy Smith, a Seattle attorney who represented the tribes in the fight over Kennewick Man, said Native Americans would still have to demonstrate a "cultural affiliation" with any human remains they claim. And the new wording would not apply retroactively to Kennewick Man.
"I think what you're hearing is nothing more than a scare tactic," he said.

Scientists begin probe of Kennewick Man

"What the tribes want now is just to have a seat at the table," Smith said. "They want to know what's going on. That is a right that is being denied them by both the scientists and the United States."

Eastern Shawnee suit claims Ohio land rights

“Tribal lawyer Mason D. Morisset of Seattle, Wash., said the aboriginal hunting and
gathering claim could ultimately lead to new uses for the 11,000 square miles of land - from casinos to simply a museum honoring the Shawnee.”

Do Indians own Massillon?

Mason Morisset, one of the attorneys representing the Shawnee tribe, is one of the best in the country at this type of litigation, Casey said. 

Kennewick Man Scientists Protest Bill

Rob Roy Smith, an attorney for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington state, said the bill would apply to future archaeological finds, and would strengthen the case of tribes across the country that want to claim and bury ancient remains. "This is a congressional effort to right a wrong ... that was identified through the Kennewick Man case," Smith said.

Water Battle Ends In Central Valley

"The tribes were fighting for the [2000 plan] and against unnecessary environmental analysis," said Schlosser, a lawyer with Morisset, Schlosser, Jozwiak & McGaw. "We were the only party arguing that on appeal." … The 9th Circuit in July unanimously rejected demands by plan opponents to conduct further environmental studies.

Kennewick Man Update

"The tribes have a legal right to be consulted and play a role in crafting the study plan," Smith said. "The tribes are discouraged but not defeated. The tribes remain hopeful that they will be included in discussions with the United States and the scientists, and that they will eventually have the remains of their ancestor returned to them."

Holy Cross Magazine: Rob Roy Smith 1997

“Few things are more rewarding than knowing that I am fighting for the rights, beliefs and needs of an under-served segment of our society.”

Valley Voice: Tribal gaming insinuations unacceptable

Since when did the Indian tribes assume responsibility for California’s "fiscal mess"? What did California do to help the Indian tribes before casino gaming allowed tribes to become economically self-sufficient? Why does the writer believe that the tribes have this responsibility to the state?

Bones of contention

The argument by Rob Roy Smith, attorney for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, that "something that is indigenous . . . cannot lose indigenousness over time" may be technically correct.

Measure could block Kennewick Man study

Even if the bill is enacted -- a long shot at best, given congressional leaders' intent to adjourn early this month -- it is not clear that it would apply to Kennewick Man, said Rob Roy Smith, an attorney for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation.

Tribes to vote Saturday

"This is truly a grassroots effort.  It's an effort by a diverse group of deeply respected [Cheyenne and Arapaho] tribal members who have experience and integrity and great insight into what has happened in the past and a vision for the future," McGaw said.

Hupa Indians battle to reclaim Trinity River

The seeds of the Hupas' victory were planted in the 1980s, when they began hiring some well-connected and highly respected advocates, including Seattle attorney Tom Schlosser, who specializes in tribal law  . . .

9th Circuit OK's Trinity River Restoration

"It looks like a total victory," said attorney Thomas Schlosser, representing the Hoopa Valley Tribe in the case. "It looks like restoration of the river can go forward unimpeded."

Alaska lawmakers jump into Hawaii dry dock dispute

Tom Schlosser, attorney for Tanadgusix, said the GSA debarment is misguided and would destroy the company…."It was perfectly clear to GSA's officers," Schlosser said. "St. Paul Island isn't really in the shipping lanes."

Highway measure could affect St. Paul

Schlosser, in recent legal documents, notes that another section of the transfer document says the dry dock is to be conveyed "as is, where is" and "delivery is made at the present location of the property." So the contract clearly allows and even requires the dry dock to stay in Hawaii, Schlosser said.

Disillusioned Makah suing Kalakala owner

"It is there without the tribe's consent or permission," says Makah attorney Frank Jozwiak of Seattle. "It's not about (damages), it's about this rusting hulk tied to our dock that could cause damage to the dock and to the environment if it sinks."  Kalakala ferry heading south to its new home

Ambitious deal aims to heal two tribes' rift

Schlosser said the involvement of a professional mediator gave the tribes a neutral setting to "listen to each other."  …"Until the Yurok Tribe gets some of their traditional land back, they are not going to feel right with the world," he said.

Court upholds Kennewick Man decision

"The court has done a great injustice to Indian country," Smith said. The problem as Smith sees it, is that tribes must now conduct studies of remains to determine their antiquity in order to claim remains. Though some tribes do not have a problem with examining remains, many do, and would be forced to go against their own religious principles in order to gain custody.

Boldt ruling's effect felt around the world

“A number of commentators have called the Boldt Decision the most significant Indian rights case in the last century," said Mason Morisset, a Seattle attorney who successfully defended the Boldt ruling before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1979 -- defeating then-Washington Attorney General Slade Gorton's appeals to overturn it. "I would have to say they're probably right."

Court rejects tribe's $6 billion claim

Mason Morisset, the tribe's lawyer, pointed out that the 1924 license for the project authorized the city to flood only 8.8 acres of federal land near the reservation…. Morisset said the ruling indicates that the power lines are on the reservation illegally, and that as long as they're there, Tacoma Power is trespassing. He said the tribe might seek damages or require the city to pay to keep the lines there.

Samish seek fishing rights, calling treaty 'soul of the tribe'

Attorney Mason Morisset for the Tulalip Tribes decried the notion of meddling with the complex rules, court orders and inter-tribal agreements governing how the fish harvest is divided. …"The idea that this group (the Samish) will come in and not disrupt anything will be poppycock," said Morisset.

City defends shoreline plan

Attorney Sharon Haensly, representing the Tulalip Tribes, the city of Everett' s next- door neighbor, said the Shoreline Management Act calls for the enhancement and restoration of fish habitat. The city’s plan does not provide adequate buffer zones to shield sensitive areas from development, Haensly said.

The Price of a River

“Attorney Mason Morisset, and the entire Skokomish Tribe, are suing the City of Tacoma over two dams they say caused $5.8 billion worth of damage to the Skokomish River…A lot of the problem was that they felt they were doing God's work in bringing electricity to the masses" he says. "It was important that electrical generating facilities were being developed—there’s no question about that--but to do that by destroying the Skokomish Indian people was wrong.”

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