September 24, 2004

To:  All Employees

From:  J. Steven Griles, Deputy Secretary /s/ 9-24-04

Subject: Court Orders regarding the Pueblo of Laguna and the Jicarilla Apache 

This memorandum is intended to remind employees of their responsibility to comply with the two orders issued by the United States Court of Federal Claims on March 19, 2004, regarding The Pueblo of Laguna v. United States and Jicarilla Apache Nation v. United States.  

Under the orders, all employees are required to take reasonable steps to preserve all  “documents, data, and tangible things” in their possession, custody, or control containing information that is relevant to, or may reasonably lead to the discovery of information relevant to, the subject matter involved in the pending litigation.  The subject matter of the pending litigation is the management and accounting of the tribal resources and funds of the Pueblo of Laguna and the Jicarilla Apache Nation from August 13, 1946, to the present.1 

Documents potentially relevant to these cases are those that reflect, refer, or relate to:

1. any asset, including funds and other assets and resources of the Pueblo of Laguna or the Jicarilla Apache Nation which is, or at any time has been, held in trust by the United States or its agents; 
2. policies, procedures, guidelines, or correspondence relative to any aspect of the management or administration of such assets;
3. any proceeds, interest, or income from such assets; or disbursement, distribution, disposition or transfer of any such assets; and
4. any reports, appraisals, reconciliations or evaluations of any such assets. 
1 This time frame is a correction to the memoranda instruction previously issued by Larry Jensen, Counselor to the Solicitor, and Steve Griles, Deputy Secretary, to Interior employees explaining the nature and extent of the obligations that are imposed by the orders.  The memoranda instructed that the relevant time frame for documents, data, and other tangible things that must be preserved is August 13, 1946, to January 8, 2002.  This statement was in error.  The relevant time frame is August 13, 1946, to the present.  That means that the obligation imposed by the court orders referenced above are ongoing and do not have an end date. 

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It is imperative that all documents, data, and tangible things related to the management and accounting of the tribal resources and funds of the Pueblo of Laguna and the Jicarilla Apache Nation be preserved.  Employees must preserve both relevant paper and electronic documents and data, whether or not those items are deemed to be Federal records under The Federal Records Act.  In addition, employees must preserve all information that serves to identify, locate, or link such relevant documents and data, such as file inventories, file folders, indices, and metadata.  Please take note that the orders also require preservation of relevant voicemails.  If your voicemail system cannot indefinitely preserve a voicemail message, you must transcribe the message onto a preservable print format indicating the date and time of the message along with the full text.  

The order further states that a “failure to comply may lead to the imposition of sanctions.”  Supervisors must ensure that their employees and others who may handle relevant documents and data (including contractors) understand and comply with this preservation order, and will be held accountable, along with employees, for compliance. 

Any questions about your document retention obligations for these cases should be directed to Cris Alvarez at (202) 208-6966 or Brenda Riel at (202) 208-3714.  Technical questions regarding the maintenance and preservation of records can be directed to your bureau or office records officer.  

For additional information regarding this Web page, contact Krista Bibb, in the Division of Policy
and Directives Management, at 
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