Lower Elwha Klallam Indian Tribe v. Lummi Nation, No. 12-35936 (9th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
This appeal arose from a proceeding brought by the Klallam under the continuing jurisdiction of a 1974 decree issued by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, and it involved a dispute over the geographic scope of the Lummi's "usual and accustomed fishing grounds." The court held that the law of the case doctrine applies only when the issue was decided explicitly or by necessary implication in the previous disposition. In this case, the court held that no prior decision has yet explicitly or by necessary implication determined whether the waters immediately west of northern Whidbey Island are a part of the Lummi's usual and accustomed fishing grounds. Therefore, the district court erred in concluding that the issue was controlled by law of the case and the court reversed the grant of Klallam's motion for summary judgment, remanding for further proceedings.