BIA facing lawsuit from victims and families of 2019 road washout

Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 1:58 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - On Thursday, a lawsuit was filed against the Bureau of Indian Affairs accusing the agency of negligence, which lead to the death of two and injured two others after a road washed out on the Standing Rock Reservation.

Robins Kaplan LLP is representing two people who were injured, and the families of two who died on July 9, 2019 on BIA Highway 3, also known as Kenel Road.

“Before July 9, 2019, the BIA was warned multiple times by officials, employees, and members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that BIA Highway 3 and the culvert issues posed an extreme safety hazard and received multiple requests for maintenance,” read court documents.

In September 2020, the families filed a administrative tort claim with the U.S. Department of Interior seeking monetary compensation for the death of family members and injury related costs.

The claim has been unanswered for more than six months.

“Despite knowing of serious safety concerns with this culvert for years and that its replacement was needed, the Bureau of Indian Affairs chose to do nothing,” read court documents.

The families are seeking an unknown amount of monetary compensation.

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