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9th Circuit upholds $400K against BIA in employment dispute

FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011 The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a $400,000 judgment for a former Bureau of Indian Affairs. The 9th Circuit agreed with a federal judge who said Duane Garvais was fired because he investigated allegations of police corruption within the Spokane Tribe of Washington. Garvais faced "malicious prosecution" in tribal court at the behest of the BIA, the court said in an unpublished opinion. "While it is a close question, the record supports the district court’s finding that the BIA both instituted and continued the criminal proceedings," the decision stated. The 9th Circuit also said the evidence in the case showed that the "BIA acted in bad faith" in dealing with Garvas, who was fired after the agency claimed he wrongly filled out an Indian preference form. Garvais descends from the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation but is not an enrolled member.

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