Some shareholders expressed shock and disappointment when their names or names of deceased relatives appeared on the Fletcher v. USA complaint filed in Federal District Court in Tulsa June 12.
The complaint contained a list of 1,747 names of individuals, churches, colleges, institutions and organizations that Fletcher attorneys allege are in illegal possession of Osage mineral shares because of their non-Osage status.
“Well, we’re finding out that the list we were given by the [Bureau of Indian Affairs] was flawed,” said Amanda Proctor, attorney for the Fletcher case and Osage tribal member. “The list primarily includes people that are dead and people that were entitled to draw royalty payments under various acts of [the U.S.] Congress and those people are primarily legally adopted people of Osages or spouses of Osages. We’re just asking people that if their name is erroneously on the list to let us know and to be patient.”
Proctor, and the other attorney on the Fletcher case, Jason Aamodt of Aamodt Lawfirm, are filtering through the list and doing independent research to rectify the situation. Currently her office receives about five calls a day pertaining to the list and they are diligently trying to separate those who should be on the list and those who shouldn’t be, she said. However, all entities other than individuals will remain on the list.
“The list we were given by the BIA was of non-Indian people – period,” Proctor said. “We’ve met with people from the BIA to reconcile the data and that’s an ongoing process.”
Comments unanimously posted on the Web site osageshareholders.org, document some of the outrage of people discovering their names: “I'm on the defendant's list and I'm curious how this came about as no one else on my father's list of heirs is being humiliated (that is exactly how I felt when I saw my name as well as embarrassed and scared).”
“I don't expect a lot of good to come from naming everybody in sight whose right to a headright share might be questionable and time will tell if I'm proved right.”
The seven-year-old Fletcher case seeks an accounting and restoration of Osage trust shares from non-Osage shareholders.
Proctor is asking that people be patient with her new schedule, she is going on maternity leave at the end of this month, and to let people know that they will be doing a couple of rounds of dismissals, or dropping erroneous names from the case, she said.
“There still may be people that will be served but there will be a letter accompanying the complaint to let them know what to do [to be dismissed from the case],” Proctor said. “Those letters will only be going to individuals. The entities will not receive any letter to be removed.”
The people who are intended to be in the lawsuit will receive a complaint and a summons notifying them of the lawsuit formally, so far Fletcher case attorneys haven’t served a single complaint yet.
The next move for the attorneys is a scheduling conference Aug. 7 where attorneys from both sides of the case will get together to form a plan to carry out the remaining phases of the lawsuit, she said. When the Osage News went to press Proctor didn’t know if the scheduling conference would be public or not.
For more information on the list contact Amanda Proctor at (918) 583-3145. To view the list of defendants click below: List of Defendants To view Exhibit A about the list of defendants click below: Exhibit A