Home > newsroom > Page
National Congress of American Indians Adopts Resolution Supporting Bill to Cap Cobell Attorneys’ Fees


WASHINGTON, D.C., June 16, 2011 - Today, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) adopted a resolution supporting H.R. 887, legislation by Indian and Alaskan Native Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Don Young (AK-At Large) and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) to cap attorneys’ fees in the Cobell v. Salazar Settlement Agreement at $50 million. At a conference on May 16-19th, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (AFNI) adopted a similar resolution supporting H.R. 887.

The $3.4 billion Settlement Agreement, enacted into law last December, included an agreement, signed by the plaintiffs’ attorneys and the government, setting attorneys’ fees between $50 million and $99.9 million. However, plaintiffs’ attorneys filed a petition in U.S. District Court seeking $223 million pursuant to a previously unknown contingency fee agreement, the complete, exact details of which are still undisclosed. This secret agreement was not disclosed by the plaintiffs’ attorneys until after Congress passed legislation and had previously told Congress that they would not seek fees over $100 million

Chairman Hastings has repeatedly sought details of the contingency fee agreements as well as documents relating to costs and expenses billed to the class and after over a year of stonewalling had to ultimately subpoena the records.

The NCAI Resolution states: “the revelation of the contingency fee, and the $223 million in attorneys’ fees sought by the Cobell attorneys, is considered outrageous by many in Indian Country and as a breach of their fiduciary duty to the class by putting their own interests ahead of the class, and has resulted in intense bipartisan scrutiny and criticism.”

“My number one concern has always been the fair treatment of the 500,000 individuals in Indian Country and ensuring that they – not trial lawyers – receive the money they deserve. The support given to H.R. 887 by the NCAI and AFNI is welcome and will have a meaningful impact,” said Chairman Hastings.

###

Printable PDF of this document


Contact: Jill Strait, Spencer Pederson or Crystal Feldman 202-226-9019

Latest News

Committee Leaders Request a 120-Day Extension to EPA’s Proposed Rule

On Friday, February 17, 2017, Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman...... Read more

President Trump Signs Joint Resolution to Repeal Job-killing Stream Rule

Today, President Donald J. Trump signed H.J. Res 38 (Reps. Bill Johnson, R-OH, Evan Jenkins, R-WV, and David McKinley, R-WV), a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act relat...... Read more

House Passes CRA to Restore Alaskan Sovereignty and Local Management on Federal Wildlife Refuges

Today, the House passed H.J. Res. 69 sponsored by Rep. Don Young (R-AK). This joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act will overturn the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) ...... Read more

View All News

Calendar

Oversight Hearing on Modernizing Western Water and Power Infrastructure in the 21st Century
Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans | 1324 Longworth House Office Building Washington D.C. 20515
View All Events