WASHINGTON, Aug. 28 -- U.S. District Judge James Robertson agreed today to enter a written order next week that will allow Indian plaintiffs to promptly appeal his latest rulings in the long-running class action lawsuit over the government's mismanagement of Trust funds for 500,000 individual Indian Trust beneficiaries.
Dennis M. Gingold, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, notified the Judge of plaintiffs' intention to appeal an August 7 ruling during a status hearing this afternoon. The appeal will focus on the judge's two recent opinions, including the most recent ruling that $455.6 million is due individual Indian beneficiaries.
Judge Robertson said at the Thursday hearing that he will enter an order next week and will hold in abeyance a decision on how the $455.6 million is to be divided and distributed to account holders pending a resolution of appellate issues.
Elousie Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Nation from Browning, Mont., and the lead plaintiff, said after the hearing that she was gratified that the Judge agreed to enter a formal order so that the appeal can be expedited and post-judgment interest will begin to accrue. Judge Robertson had entered only a "memorandum opinion" on August 7, which could not be appealed.
"The Judge's agreement to enter a formal, written order will allow us to promptly resolve important issues under trust law that will determine the full extent of our recovery for the 121 year history of the Trust," Ms. Cobell said.
Cobell Suit Settled - Payments begin in December 2012.