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Jonathan Labukas, Nicole Simmons and Pilar Thomas Showcased in “Shawnee Tribe Seeks More Virus Funds After DC Circ. Ruling”

Law360

The Shawnee Tribe has asked a federal judge to order the U.S. government to give the tribes a larger portion of COVID-19 relief funding after the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court reversed the initial court’s dismissal, claiming the tribe was denied a fair disbursement of funds. The tribe said the government has ignored funding metrics that accurately capture tribal population numbers and used incorrect data to under-distribute Title V funds to the tribes.

Below is an excerpt:

“The D.C. Circuit's Jan. 5 decision revived the Shawnee Tribe's bid to increase its share of the billions of dollars in coronavirus relief funds, ruling that the Treasury likely underpaid the Shawnee and some other tribes by basing funding on population data that fell far short of their true membership numbers.

In its opinion, the three-judge panel reversed the D.C. district court's Sept. 10 dismissal of the suit, saying Judge Mehta wrongly found that Treasury's allocation of coronavirus relief funding wasn't reviewable under the APA.

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"Although Treasury recognizes plaintiffs' concerns about the need for prompt payments, Treasury does not intend to make advance payments to plaintiffs without first ascertaining the amount plaintiffs, and others, may receive under a revised methodology," the department said. "As an initial matter, a decision to issue payments prior to a final decision as to a revised methodology would prejudge the decision, including the entitlement to any additional payments and the amount of any such payments, and may have unintended ramifications for similarly situated entities."”

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The Shawnee Tribe is represented by Pilar Thomas, Jonathan P. Labukas and Nicole L. Simmons of Quarles & Brady LLP.

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