Update (June 27, 2016): The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed the severe sanctions against Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s counsel in this seemingly endless battle, discussed below. “Federal Indian law is complex,” the Court held. Because the law is complex and because the Court of Appeals found that Plaintiff “made good-faith, nonfrivolous arguments distinguishing, calling for modifications, or seeking extensions of existing law,” the Court of Appeals held that Sr. U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. Davis (D. Minn.) “abused his discretion” in sanctioning the Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s counsel.
As between a trial court and the Court of Appeals, who is in a better position to decide whether a legal question is simple or complex? Who is in a better position to decide when a Plaintiff is making an argument “in good faith”? (What evidence does one point to as evidence of “good faith”? In my opinion, neither the district court’s analysis dismissing the case nor the Court of Appeals decision affirming dismissal was complex but, fortunately for Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s counsel, neither Judge Davis nor I get to decide that.
Barb Jones of Minnesota Lawyer (paywall/password required?) reports this week that Plaintiff’s counsel is determined still to seek U.S. Supreme Court review…
Update (September 28, 2015) (under the headline Wolfchild: A Career-Ending Case?): In a more recent Wolfchild case which may or may not relate to an earlier Wolfchild case mentioned below on Minnesota Litigator in 2011, Minnesota trial lawyer, Erick Kaardal, might have gone too far in advocating a case without a proper basis in law or fact. And he’s facing some stiff sanctions that U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. Davis (D. Minn.) has refused to stay pending appeal.
It’s bad. It’s real bad. One issue that must be very uncomfortable is that the parties and Kaardal’s law firm are jointly and severally liable for the $281,906.34, to be paid in 30 days. I feel nauseous just thinking of the conversation with the clients about this. The nausea replicates ten-fold at the thought of discussions with the law firm partners…
Original post (February 6, 2011) (under headline: Wolfchild: A Career Case): Twin cities lawyer, Erick Kaardal, has been so deeply involved in a single case for such a time that it must qualify as a “career case.” It was a single case that used to have its own dedicated webpage on attorney Kaardal’s law firm website (9/28/15 update: Minnesota Litigator link removed because linked page removed).
The lawsuit is on behalf of lineal descendants of 19th Century Native Americans who made a deal with the U.S. Government which, apparently, failed to uphold its side of the bargain. The case, started seven years ago, appears to be nearing some kind of resolution.