Judge Paul G. Cassell – Navajo Nation v. LDS Family Services – Motion to Dismiss Granted

NAVAJO NATION, Plaintiff, vs. LDS FAMILY SERVICES, Defendant.

Case No. 2:06cv00909

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH, CENTRAL DIVISION

2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89913

December 12, 2006

During her pregnancy, Sarah Ashley Ziska contacted LDS Family Services about possibly placing her unborn child for adoption. Ms. Ziska eventually informed Family Services the probable father of her unborn child was of Navajo ancestry. Because no one had registered with the Utah Putative Father Registry with regard to Ms. Ziska’s unborn child, Family Services proceeded with the adoption process.

On February 14, 2005, Ms. Ziska gave birth to a baby girl. On February 25, 2005, Ms. Ziska voluntarily relinquished her parental rights to the child in front of a Utah state court judge. The Utah state courts have continued to preside over the adoption proceedings.  

In this case, the Navajo Nation challenges the adoption procedures used by LDS Family Services. Specifically, the Navajo Nation requested the court to determine if the federal Indian Child and Welfare Act applies when a natural Native American father is unable to establish his paternity under state law, and if it creates a private right of action for the Navajo Nation.

The Court ruled that the Navajo Nation did not demonstrate the state court proceeding provided an inadequate forum to hear the claims raised in its petition. The court, therefore, held that it is necessary to abstain from this matter.

LDS Family Services’ Motion to Dismiss granted.

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Explore posts in the same categories: American Indian law, Civil, Judge Paul G. Cassell

One Comment on “Judge Paul G. Cassell – Navajo Nation v. LDS Family Services – Motion to Dismiss Granted”

  1. Kirby Says:

    I thought that a baby of native blood was not to be given to any other race than that of its own. The LDS family services should have considered to contact the Navajo Nation adoption agency about the adoption or at least suggested it to the mother.


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