Mark Reeves focuses his practice on trial and appellate litigation, predominantly on behalf of Indian tribes. He has represented and advised tribes in a broad range of litigation in federal, state, and tribal courts and before federal administrative agencies, including a number of cases before federal appellate courts and the Interior Board of Indian Appeals. Mr. Reeves has significant experience litigating issues relating to tribal sovereignty and immunity, the acquisition, development, and protection of tribal land and water rights, the taxation of Indian lands and property, litigation over easements, rights-of-way, and trespasses on Indian lands, the application of federal and state laws to Indian tribes and tribal enterprises, and the enforcement of the United States’ trust responsibilities to tribes.
Mr. Reeves has also assisted and advised tribes in numerous non-litigation contexts, including fee-into-trust land acquisitions, right-of-way and easement negotiations, the negotiation of self-governance compacts and funding agreements, the acquisition of Johnson O’Malley Act funds for Indian education programs, and the drafting, interpretation, and application of tribal legal codes.
In addition to his work on behalf of Native American clients, Mr. Reeves has substantial experience in medical malpractice defense litigation and in representing businesses in civil litigation, including products liability work and commercial contract disputes. He also has represented numerous individual plaintiffs who were victims of catastrophic injuries.
Mr. Reeves was recognized in 2020 and 2021 by The Best Lawyers in America® for Native American Law. He was recognized by the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce as a “Top 10 in 10 Young Professional” in 2014. He was also recognized as a Georgia “Rising Star” in the area of Native American Law by Super Lawyers magazine each year from 2015-2018 and included on Benchmark Litigation’s “40 & Under Hot List” for Appellate and Native American Law in 2018.
Lead counsel for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in response to a suit by the State of Alabama seeking to enjoin the Tribe’s gaming activity. The State alleged that the Tribe’s gaming was either a public nuisance under state law or in violation of criminal provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Removed case from state to federal court, then successfully moved for dismissal of all of the State’s claims, including Carcieri-based arguments attacking the status of the Tribe’s land. Also served as lead counsel in the Tribe’s successful defense of the trial court’s ruling before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Counsel for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in its case against California water districts seeking a declaration and quantification of Agua Caliente’s federally reserved rights to groundwater. The Tribe also seeks to enjoin the water districts from infringing on its federal reserved water rights by degrading groundwater quality in the Coachella Valley and overdrafting the aquifer. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Tribe, holding that it has a federally reserved right to groundwater. This matter is pending.
Lead counsel for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in a lawsuit against a county tax assessor who sought to assess taxes on Tribe’s trust lands based on a Carcieri-style argument. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama issued a preliminary injunction against the tax assessor, which was affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit after oral argument. Based on the Eleventh Circuit ruling, the tax assessor submitted to a permanent injunction against any further efforts to assess tribal trust property.
Successfully represented a tribe and over 1,000 allottees in a complex class action trespass claim against the United States regarding an expired transmission line right-of-way. The matter involved obtaining favorable rulings from both the United States Court of Federal Claims and the District Court for the District of Arizona.
Represented the Poarch Band of Creek Indians before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals when a former employee appealed the trial court’s dismissal of an Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) claim against the Tribe. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed dismissal of the claim after oral argument, and the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari.
Represented a major Georgia hospital in numerous cases alleging professional malpractice against hospital employees and contractors.
Represented multiple tribes in the successful settlement of tribal trust lawsuits against the United States alleging mismanagement of tribal trust assets.
Pro bono work on behalf of the Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy, a non-profit entity using groundbreaking research and public education initiatives to promote responsible stewardship of fresh water resources and environmentally sustainable economic development in the Savannah River watershed and beyond.
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Vanderbilt University Law School J.D. (2004) Order of the Coif, Vanderbilt Law Review, John W. Wade Scholar
University of Georgia B.A. (2001) summa cum laude, First Honor Graduate
District of Columbia (2016)
Georgia Court of Appeals (2009)
Georgia Supreme Court (2009)
Poarch Band of Creek Indians Tribal Court (2012)
United States Supreme Court (2017)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (2005)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (2019)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2015)
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (2019)
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia (2005)
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (2009)
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia (2007)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit - R. Lanier Anderson, III (Sep 2004-Aug 2005)
State Bar of Georgia, 2008 Young Lawyers' Division Leadership Academy
Law360, Native American Editorial Board (2021)
Augusta Bar Association, Treasurer (2014-2015)
Augusta Bar Foundation, Board Member (2014-2015)
Young Lawyers of Augusta, President (2011)
Sacred Heart Cultural Center, Board Member (2006-2011)
Phinizy Center for Water Sciences (f/k/a Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy), Secretary & Board Member (2008-2017)
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