Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive


Tuesday, January 11, 2000

TIGUAS LAND LAWSUIT AGAINST STATE DISMISSED BY THE U.S. FIFTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

Court Affirms District Court's Dismissal

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today announced that the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a previous federal court's ruling that dismissed the $4 billion lawsuit filed by the Tigua Indians against the State of Texas.

"We are pleased with the Court's decision. The Court agrees that the Constitution does not allow the Tiguas to sue Texas for compensation for the Ysleta Grant. This is an important victory for the state," said Attorney General Cornyn.

The $4 billion lawsuit, filed in March 1999, claimed that the U.S. Constitution requires the State of Texas to compensate the Tiguas for 18 square miles of land on the east side of El Paso. The Fifth Circuit rejected the Tiguas' claims made under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments and ruled that the Eleventh Amendment prevents the state from being sued by its own citizens in federal court.

This case had been dismissed on June 30, 1999 by U.S. District Judge Eddie Prado of El Paso, and the Tiguas had appealed to the Fifth Circuit.

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Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050