Coblentz Lawyers Help Native American Family Reclaim Their Tribal Heritage

Coblentz lawyers Zuzana Ikels and Aaron Foxworthy successfully advocated for the Sloan family, disenfranchised members of the Cahto Tribe of the Leytonville Rancheria. Fifteen years ago, the family was expelled from Tribal rolls on fabricated grounds after a tribal elder and family member confronted the Tribe’s casino operators on claims of embezzlement. In Cahto Tribe of the Laytonville Rancheria v. Amy Dutschle, Regional Director for the Pacific Region, Bureau of Indian Affairs, et al., the United States District Court, Eastern District of California denied the Tribe’s challenge to a Bureau of Indian Affairs decision not to recognize the unlawful expulsion. Ms. Ikels and Mr. Foxworthy worked with the Department of Justice on briefing and arguing the Summary Judgment motion, and advocated for the Sloans in an Amicus filing due to the court’s earlier rejection of the family’s request to intervene.

The Sloans are hopeful that the decision brings to a close a 15-year odyssey for justice, in which the Sloan family members have been denied benefits, voting rights, tribal land rights, and any proceeds from the Tribe’s operations. Coblentz is a signatory to the State Bar Association’s Pledge on Pro Bono and was awarded the 2010 President’s Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year from the California State Bar.