United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division
Johnston United States Magistrate Judge.
Chippewa Cree Tribe filed a motion to quash the subpoena
duces tecum the Court issued on November 22, 2016, stating
that (1) the Tribe's sovereign immunity relieved them
from any requirement to respond to the subpoena and (2) the
subpoena was oppressive and unreasonable. (Docs. 118, 98,
100.) Defendants opposed the motion. (Doc. 124.) The Court
referred the Tribe's motion to the undersigned for
undersigned held hearings on the Motion on January 17, 2017,
and January 25, 2017. (Doc. 135.) The undersigned then
ordered Defendants to submit a proposed amended subpoena.
(Doc. 136.) Defendants filed the proposed amended subpoena on
January 27, 2017. (Doc. 138.) The Tribe filed its response to
the subpoena on February 3, 2017. (Doc. 143.) The undersigned
held a status conference on February 15, 2017. (Doc. 149.)
During the status conference the Tribe agreed that the
proposed amended subpoena was not unreasonable or oppressive
because the Tribe had previously produced the documents the
subpoena requests in a civil action to which it was a party.
(4:14-cv-00063-BMM). Given this admission and the fact that
the undersigned finds that the Tribe waived its sovereign
immunity in this case by voluntarily producing documents to
the United States in this case, the Tribe's motion is
granted in part and denied in part.
17(c)(2) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure states
that a court may quash a subpoena if “compliance would
be unreasonable or oppressive.” The Court finds that
based on the Tribe's statement that it has previously
produced all of the documents Defendants seek in their
proposed amended subpoena, compliance with the proposed
amended subpoena would not be oppressive or unreasonable.
Thus, the Court may grant the Tribe's motion only if it
finds that the Tribe has sovereign immunity in this matter.
have sovereign immunity due to their status as dependant
domestic nations. United States v. James, 980 F.2d
1314, 1319 (9th Cir. 1992). A tribe maintains this immunity
unless it unequivocally waives it or Congress abrogates it.
Id. A tribe waives its sovereign immunity in regard
to producing documents relevant to a case when it voluntarily
provides documents to a party. Id.
the Tribe voluntarily produced documents relevant to this
case to the United States. Thus, the Court finds that the
Tribe waived its sovereign immunity and must respond to a
subpoena that seeks documents in its possession relevant to
reasons stated above the Court issues the following order:
1. The Tribe's Motion to Quash is granted in part and
denied in part.
2. The Tribe must respond to the Subpoena Duces Tecum to the
extent described below:
Tribe shall produce the following records:
A. Business committee/tribal council meeting minutes;
B. Administration/administrative committee meeting minutes;
C. Administration/administrative sub-committee meeting
D. Administration/administrative Budget committee meeting
E. Administration/administrative Budget Sub-committee meeting
F. Budget committee meeting minutes; G. Budget Sub-committee
H. Executive committee meeting minutes;
I. Administration/administrative committee meeting minutes;
J. Executive session meeting minutes;
K. Administration/administrative session meeting minutes
Tribe entity or organization, including First American
Capital Resources LLC (FACR) and/or Plain Green, ...