Joe Sexton is a Partner with Galanda Broadman, PLLC. Joe focuses on tribal sovereignty issues, working primarily on environmental and cultural resources matters, advocating for enrolled members in disenrollment defense and civil rights plaintiff cases, economic development for tribal governments and individuals, and complex Indian Country litigation. Joe has also successfully represented individual tribal members in catastrophic injury cases, securing favorable settlements. Before joining Galanda Broadman, Joe worked in-house for a tribal government. While working in-house, Joe developed and enhanced tribal government programs, including a motor vehicle registration program. He also negotiated the purchase of tribal lands, and successfully fought in courts and administrative forums to protect his client’s tribal sovereignty, the indigenous and human rights of his client’s constituents, and his client’s threatened cultural resources. His experiences before practicing law—including service in the United States Marine Corps and working as an intern in Bosnia and Herzegovina— equipped Joe to thrive in diverse communities, work efficiently and effectively under pressure, and relentlessly pursue his clients’ objectives.
After law school, Joe worked for Williams Kastner, a medium-sized Seattle law firm, where he represented businesses and individuals before federal and state courts, often-times securing summary judgment rulings in his clients’ favor and achieving favorable settlement results at mediation.
Representative Client Successes
- Argued successfully as amicus counsel on behalf of the Yakama Nation before the Washington Supreme Court (Wash. 2017).
- Assisted with negotiations leading to the repatriation of the Ancient One (a/k/a "Kennewick Man") for reburial after establishing direct familial link between the Ancient One and modern tribes (2017).
- Successfully advocated on behalf of tribal client in application to construct oil export facility at the Port of Vancouver to protect and preserve Treaty and other human rights (Tesoro Savage 2017).
- Defeated application to expand rail operations before Wasco County Commissioners, protecting tribal members' Treaty rights to fishing sites on the Columbia River (2016).
- Settled dispute resulting in no construction of coal export facility at the Port of Morrow ensuring Treaty rights are protected (2016).
- Settled civil RICO lawsuit against former employees of a tribal enterprise (2016).
- Secured a $6,000,000+ settlement in a catastrophic injury case (2015).
- Prevailed before the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission in a dispute with a railroad to maintain on-Reservation crossings critical to tribal cultural and religious practices (2015).
- Settled a cultural resources damages case for over $250,000, and title to over 50 acres of culturally significant lands.
- Worked with CRITFC and other Tribes to secure a permit denial from the State of Oregon for construction of a coal export terminal at the Port of Morrow.
- Settled wrongful death claim for an amount in excess of $500,000 (2013).
- Assisted with negotiations leading to $188 million settlement with the United States.
- federal government over trust mismanagement claims (Court of Federal Claims, 2013).
- Negotiated and finalized purchase of title to more than 8,000 acres of aboriginal lands (2013).
- Represented tribal government interests and negotiated complex financial agreements for multi-million-dollar casino expansion project (2013)
- Defeated employment-dispute claims against governmental client in tribal court (2012)
- Negotiated land-use agreements to facilitate construction of salmon habitat restoration work (2012).
- Established first independent tribal motor vehicle registration and license plate issuance program in the Pacific Northwest (2012).
- Obtained $2.3 million settlement protecting archaeological and cultural resources in dispute with the Bonneville Power Administration (2012).
- Negotiated settlement with Klickitat County requiring change in county laws protecting cultural resources (2011)
- Secured order requiring adherence to tribal law ensuring a mother’s parental rights were protected (Yakama Tr. Ct. 2011).
- Obtained dismissal and attorneys’ fees award that was appealed and upheld by the Washington Court of Appeals (Wash. Ct. App. 2011).
Joe enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 17; he met and gained profound respect for the Native American Marines he served with. In his free time, Joe enjoys hiking camping, and skiing. He and his wife have two children and are expecting a third in 2018.
2013 – Present, Galanda Broadman, Partner
2010 – 2013, In-house legal counsel for the Yakama Nation
2006 – 2010, Williams Kastner, Associate, United States
1997 – 2004, Marine Corps Reserve, Heavy Equipment Operator
University of Arizona College of Law, JD, 2006
- National Moot Court Team and Board of Directors
- Interned with OSCE Human Rights Division in Bosnia and Herzegovina Volunteered with low-income legal aid clinic
The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, BA
Admitted to Bar
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington
Yakama Nation Tribal Court
Tulalip Tribal Court
Grand Ronde Tribal Court
Named to Super Lawyers Washington Rising Star list 2016-18
Sacred Indian Sites Are Desecrated While Congress Fiddles, Indian Country Today Media Network, November 13, 2013.
BIA's Ugly, 19th-Century Attitudes Toward Native Land Rights, Indian Country Today Media Network, November 24, 2014.
American Bar Association
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Marine Corps League