Kanji & Katzen PLLC

Seattle Office

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This content is provided by Kanji & Katzen PLLC.

Managing Partner: David A. Giampetroni
Number of partners: 5
Number of lawyers: 11
Languages: English

Firm Overview:
With offices in Seattle, Washington, Flagstaff, Arizona, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, Kanji & Katzen, PLLC, is devoted to protecting the sovereignty and economic and cultural vitality of Indian tribes. The firm represents tribes across the United States in litigation, administrative advocacy, and negotiations on matters including tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction; treaty rights; land and reservation boundary claims; gaming and other economic development; environmental protection; tribal laws and justice systems; and taxation.

Main Areas of Practice:
Tribal Sovereignty & Jurisdiction
Treaty Rights
Gaming & Economic Development
Land Claims & Reservation Boundaries
Natural Resources & Environment

Treaty Rights:

■ Represented numerous Pacific Northwest tribes in litigation to preserve wild salmon runs. State enjoined to rebuild more than 1,000 road culverts to allow fish passage. United States v. Washington, 853 F.3d 946 (9th Cir. 2017), affirmed, 138 S. Ct. 1832 (2018)
■ Represent Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in negotiations between tribal, state, and federal entities over allocation of Great Lakes fishery resources under 1836 treaty
■ Represented 16 tribes in landmark case vindicating treaty rights to harvest shellfish. United States v. Washington, 157 F.3d 630 (9th Cir. 1998)
■ Represented Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe regarding infringement of treaty fishing rights by construction at Navy submarine base, with claims settled for $6.6m program of land acquisition and fisheries enhancement

Land & Reservation Matters:
■ Represent Muscogee (Creek) Nation in litigation over Nation’s treaty-established reservation boundaries. Murphy v. Royal, 866 F.3d 1164 (10th Cir. 2017), S. Ct. No. 17-1107 (argued Nov. 27, 2018), and McGirt v. Oklahoma, S. Ct. No. 18-9526 (argued Apr. 21, 2020)
■ Represent a tribe in non-public matter seeking just compensation from United States for unconstitutional taking of tribe’s treaty-guaranteed reservation lands in 19th century
■ Represented Navajo citizens in litigation to vindicate citizens’ rights to federal relocation benefits

Sovereignty & Jurisdiction:
■ Represented (as co-counsel) Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in litigation affirming Band’s authority to adjudicate a tort suit filed by a member against a non-Indian business on trust land. Dollar General Corp. v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, 136 S. Ct. 2159 (2016)
■ Represented Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in litigation affirming its inherent sovereign authority to prosecute members for crimes outside Indian Country. Kelsey v. Pope, 809 F.3d 849 (6th Cir. 2016)
■ Represented Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomie in litigation affirming tribal court jurisdiction to issue civil protection orders against non-Indians under 2013 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. Spurr v. Pope, 936 F.3d 478 (6th Cir. 2019)
■ Represent Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians in legislative effort to amend the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act to establish that tribes in Maine enjoy the same sovereign rights as other federally recognized Indian tribes in the United States

■ Represent Tulalip Tribes and its political subdivision to vindicate Tribe’s right to generate tax revenue from new economy it created on tribal trust land. Tulalip Tribes v. Washington, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172013 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 4, 2018), appeal pending. In the 2020 regular session, the Washington State Legislature enacted SHB 2803, authorizing the Governor to enter a tax-sharing compact with Tulalip Tribes to resolve the litigation
■ Represented Squaxin Island Tribe and Swinomish Indian Tribal Community to enjoin state taxation of fuel sold from tribally-owned stations. Squaxin Island Tribe v. Stephens, 400 F. Supp. 2d 1250 (W.D. Wash. 2005)
■ Represented Seneca Nation as amicus in dispute over application of New York tobacco tax scheme to tribal and member-owned businesses. Cayuga Indian Nation of N.Y. v. Gould, 930 N.E.2d 233 (N.Y. 2010)

■ Represented Grand Traverse Band and Seneca Nation in suits affirming gaming eligibility of their lands and lawfulness of their gaming facilities under IGRA. CACGEC v. Chaudhuri, 802 F.3d 267 (2d Cir. 2015); Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians v. Office of the U.S. Attorney, 369 F.3d 960 (6th Cir. 2004)
■ Have represented numerous tribes in disputes with state governments over interpretation of gaming compacts, including game classification, revenue-sharing and exclusivity, and state regulatory authority

Environment & Natural Resources:
■ Represent Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa in trespass and public nuisance action to remove crude oil pipeline from reservation lands. Bad River Band v. Enbridge, Inc. et al., No. 3:19-602, W.D. Wisc. (filed July 23, 2019)
■ Represent Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe regarding toxic clean-up, natural resource damages, land acquisition, and brownfields redevelopment following closure of sawmill that operated for 140 years on site of former tribal village adjoining Tribe’s Reservation
■ Represented Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal officials in Endangered Species Act action upholding tribal programs to restore salmonids to Elwha River following dam removal. Wild Fish Conservancy v. Nat’l Park Serv., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18924 (W.D. Wash. Feb. 12, 2013), aff’d, 687 F. App’x 554 (9th Cir. 2017)
■ Represent coalition of tribes and tribal organizations in defending appropriate regulation of mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants
■ Represent Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, Stillaguamish Tribe, and Suquamish Tribe in litigation and administrative proceedings to ensure federal and state water quality standards protect tribal sustenance fishing
■ Represent Suquamish Tribe to ensure tribal sustenance fishing is protected from untreated sewage discharged in violation of the Clean Water Act

Tribal Courts & Laws:
■ Represented Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Tribal Court in litigation obtaining state enforcement of tribal court judgment under state full faith and credit law. LTBB Tribal Court v. Beck, No. 17-105818 (Mich. Cir. Ct. 2018)
■ Represented Seneca Nation in case confirming that litigants must exhaust tribal court remedies before proceeding in federal court. LECG, LLC v. Seneca Nation of Indians, 518 F. Supp. 2d 274 (D.D.C. 2007)
■ Consult and assist with drafting and revision of tribal constitutions, statutes, regulations and court rules

Tribal Supreme Court Project:
■ Worked closely with the National Congress of American Indians and the Native American Rights Fund to establish the Tribal Supreme Court Project, and remain a principal Project advisor. In addition to representing tribal parties before the Court, firm has authored or co-authored several important amicus briefs filed by NCAI with the Court, including in Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community (October Term 2013), United States v. Lara (October Term 2003), and Inyo County v. Paiute-Shoshone Indians (October Term 2002)