October 13, 2015
NP and its co-counsel, including Whitten Burrage, represented the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations in a historic settlement with the federal government. The litigation involved allegations that the federal government mismanaged over 1.3 million acres of land and timber belonging to the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations. Along with co-counsel, NP conducted comprehensive fact and expert discovery—including analyzing millions of pages of historical trust-related documents, and taking or defending 37 depositions across the country. NP also played an integral role in settlement negotiations and the mediation process, which was overseen by court-appointed Special Master and former federal judge, John Robertson (Ret.).
With NP partner Brad Beckworth and Whitten Burrage founders Reggie Whitten and Judge Michael Burrage set to try the case on behalf of the Nations, the United States settled the Nations’ claims a few days before trial was to begin. The case settled for $186 million, the fifth-largest settlement out of the 86 tribal trust actions that have been filed. The settlement represented a significant milestone in the tribal trust relationship between the United States and the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations. The importance of this milestone was acknowledged at a commemorative signing ceremony held at Choctaw Nation headquarters and attended by Choctaw Nation Principal Chief Gary Batton, Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, Interior Solicitor Hilary C. Tompkins, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Lawrence S. Roberts.
NP’s complex litigation team—partners Jeffrey Angelovich, Brad Beckworth, Susan Whatley, Lisa Baldwin, Trey Duck, and Drew Pate—led the prosecution of this case.