Bismarck, N.D. (KX Net)- An appeals court has upheld a district court’s ruling to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit in the case of a road washout on the Standing Rock reservation.

Back in July 2019, two people were killed and two others injured after a culvert on the Standing Rock Reservation washed out during heavy rains.

The two survivors and the family members of the two who died in the washout filed suit against the Bureau of Indian Affairs, arguing the BIA had a responsibility to inspect and maintain the culvert.

Federal government asks for more time to respond to road washout lawsuit

In the district court’s earlier ruling last year, Judge Daniel Hovland said BIA had no mandatory rules, regulations, policies or procedures to follow in deciding whether to replace the culvert. The judge also added at the time that the application of the law in this case was extremely unfair and that common sense and justice were absent from its application.

The plaintiffs appealed Judge Hovland’s decision.

Standing Rock road washout lawsuit appealed

However, on Friday Hovland’s decision was affirmed by judges with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

KX News reached out to Timothy Purdon, attorney for the plaintiffs regarding the decision. In an email to KX News, Purdon stated “Today is simply a very, very tough day for these families.”

He added that “Here at Robins Kaplan, we are analyzing the families’ options for possible further appeal of this matter, perhaps even to the United States Supreme Court.