Indian Law Practice
The firm has an extensive Indian law practice. We have represented over 38 clients throughout Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Washington, and Washington DC.
Business Interests in and Around Indian Country
During our history, the firm has represented many commercial enterprises doing business in Indian country.
The firm maintains involvement in the community representing various non-profit organizations. We support the community's nonprofit sector needs representing over a dozen organizations.
Throughout our firm’s history, we have been committed to the interests of Indian tribes, bringing claims against the United States and others that have taken us before every level of the federal court system.Our work includes fee-to-trust conversions on behalf of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians.
After assisting the Tribe throughout the complex environmental assessment process, we successfully completed the fee-to-trust process for a 478-acre parcel, making it the latest addition to the Soboba Indian Reservation. With the firm’s assistance, the Band is now nearing trust status for a 535-acre gaming tract that will be the site of its new hotel and casino.
Johnson Barnhouse & Keegan has extensive experience in tribal economic development and our attorneys are well versed in the competitive tax and regulatory advantages of doing business in Indian Country.
Our client portfolio in this area is broad and continually growing. Among our success stories is our work with a tribal economic development enterprise on a commercial loan for a hotel project and a tribal gaming enterprise to secure financing for several of its gaming operations.
In addition to our extensive work with Indian affairs, Johnson Barnhouse & Keegan maintains an active general law practice representing clients in business litigation matters, business and commercial matters, real estate transactions, water law, personal injury, wills, and estates.
At Luebben Johnson & Barnhouse, we have decades of experience working to protect our clients’ land and water rights as well as natural and cultural resources. For a number of cases, our specialized expertise and dedication have resulted in historic outcomes. One such case was led by Thomas Luebben.After agricultural drainage waters from nearby irrigation systems flooded the Coachella Valley reservation of the Torres-Martinez Band of Mission Indians,
Mr. Luebben successfully settled a trespass action against regional irrigation districts. As a result, the Tribe and injured allottees were guaranteed compensation for past and future damages from the irrigation districts and the United States. The settlement also provided for acquisition of additional lands to be held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the Tribe.
Over the past several decades, the firm and its member attorneys have been engaged in a wide variety of civil litigation in federal, state and tribal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. These cases, often precedent-setting, have involved land claims, quiet title actions, rights-of-way, land use, water rights adjudications, Indian education, Indian health, tribal government and sovereignty, business and commercial litigation and employment rights.
Among our success stories is the defense of a client and his Indian-owned tobacco business. The business had been sued by the City of New York on a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act claim. We litigated the case in federal district court, the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, ultimately prevailing.