2017 Tribal Courts Cases

Last updated: July 21, 2017

Next Update Should be Ready by:
July 28, 2017

Recently Added Cases:

Colebut v. Colebut
2017 WL 2351325
MPTC–CV–PI–2015–149
Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court.
May 12, 2017.

*Synopsis: After allegedly tripping and falling in driveway of her uncle's home, plaintiff brought negligence action against her uncle and tribe. Tribe moved for summary judgment.

*Holdings: The Tribal Court, Edward B. O'Connell, J., held that:
1) issues of fact existed as to whether Tribe lacked any control over defendant's premises, and
2) issues of fact existed as to whether Tribe had constructive notice of alleged dangerous condition.
Motion denied.


Older Cases:

December

 

November

 

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September

 

August

 

July

 

June

 

May

Tupling v. Kruse
2017 WL 2443081
No. MPTC–CV–PI–2014–174.
Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court.
May 30, 2017.

Legal Topics: Child Custody

 

April

Santander Bank, N.A. v. Colebut
2017 WL 1787561 (Mash. Pequot Tribal Ct.)
No. MPTC–HS–2014–142.
Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court.
April 26, 2017.

*Synopsis: In foreclosure action, bank sought permission to hold auction of debtor's property.

*Holdings: The Tribal Court, Thomas J. Londregan, J., held that ordering auction was consistent with purpose and intent of Tribal law.
Ordered accordingly.

DiMartino v. Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation
2017 WL 2497063
Case No. AP16–018, 7 CTCR 16
Colville Tribal Court of Appeals.
April 12, 2017

*Synopsis: Patron of Gaming Enterprise brought personal injury action against tribal police officer and tribe, alleging injuries resulting from officer's negligent use of excessive force.

*Holdings: The Tribal Court, Thomas J. Londregan, J., held that force used by tribal police officer in pulling plaintiff away from altercation was not excessive and unreasonable.
Judgment for defendant.

Jerred v. Colville Confederated Tribes
2017 WL 2334513
Case No. AP16–018, 7 CTCR 16
Colville Tribal Court of Appeals.
April 12, 2017

Legal Topics: Child Custody

March

Big Leggins v. Fort Peck Tribe
14 Am. Tribal Law 12
CAUSE NO. AP #732
Fort Peck Court of Appeals.
March 13, 2017

*Synopsis: After she failed to appear for trial, defendant was convicted in absentia, in a bench trial before the Fort Peck Tribal Court, Michael Headdress, J., of one count of misdemeanor neglect of a child and two counts of felony neglect of a child. She appealed.

*Holdings: The Fort Peck Court of Appeals held that Tribal Court erred in conducting trial in absentia.
Reversed and remanded.

Matter of T. F.
14 Am. Tribal Law 15
CAUSE NO. AP #737
Fort Peck Court of Appeals.
March 13, 2017

*Synopsis: Father appealed judgment of the Fort Peck Tribal Court, Michael Headdress, J., which convicted his son, upon his plea of guilty, of disorderly conduct.

*Holdings: The Fort Peck Court of Appeals held that failure to appoint counsel for juvenile did not render his plea involuntary.
Appeal denied.

Licciardello v. Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise
2017 WL 1208587 (Mash. Pequot Tribal Ct.)
No. MPTC–CV–PI–2014–173.
Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court.
March 10, 2017

*Synopsis: Widow of casino patron brought negligence action against Gaming Enterprise, alleging that patron was injured when he tipped over in his motorized scooter while riding shuttle bus.

*Holdings: Following bench trial, the Tribal Court, Jean M. Lucasey, J., held that:
1) Gaming Enterprise has a duty to exercise reasonable care with regard to passengers that use its shuttles;
2) Gaming Enterprise did not act negligently when driver positioned motorized scooter at angle;
3) Gaming Enterprise was negligent in not having in place policy or procedure for securing and transporting passengers with mobility vehicles;
4) Gaming Enterprise did not act negligently when driver of shuttle applied brakes suddenly;
5) patron was not contributorily negligent;
6) aggravation of patron's pleural effusion was directly and proximately caused by accident; and
7) appropriate award of damages for pain and suffering was $4,800.
Judgment entered for widow.

Desautel v. Colville Confederated Tribes
14 Am. Tribal Law 3
No. AP10–003
Colville Tribal Court of Appeals.
March 10, 2017

*Synopsis: In dependency proceeding, the Tribal Court found children to be minors-in-need-of-care as to mother and not minors-in-need-of-care as to father and placed children in care of father. Mother appealed.

*Holdings: The Tribal Court of Appeals held that:
1) tribal court's decision not to hold a competency hearing regarding minor children testifying was not clear error, and
2) determination that children were not minors-in-need-of-care as to father and were minors-in-need-of-care as to mother was not clearly erroneous.
Affirmed.

C.W. v. Tulalip Tribe
2017 WL 962636
APPEAL NO. TUL-CV-AP-2016-0023
NO. TUL-CV-ET-2015-0031
Tulalip Tribal Court of Appeals.
March 9, 2017

*Synopsis: Following ruling on the merits in favor of employee in employment case, employee moved for award of attorney's fees and costs. The Tulalip Employment Court, Whitener, C.J., denied motion. Employee appealed.

*Holdings: The Tulalip Tribal Court of Appeals, Raas, C.J., held that:
1) Tribal Court of Appeals had jurisdiction to examine whether Tribes waived sovereign immunity when creating Employment Court, and
2) when creating Employment Court, Tribes did not waive immunity from suit to allow consideration of attorneys fees.
Appeal dismissed; Remanded.

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians v. Martin
2017 WL 924271
CSC 15-03
Cherokee Court of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
March 3, 2017

*Synopsis: Defendant was convicted in the Cherokee Court, James Baker, J., of violating terms of deferred judgment agreement and sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment and two years' supervised probation. Defendant appealed.

*Holdings: The Supreme Court of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Hunter, J., held that variance in time alleged in tribe's motion to enter judgment and evidence presented at hearing prejudiced defendant, warranting new hearing.
Reversed and remanded.

Sharp v. Red Elk
14 Am. Tribal Law 9
CAUSE NO. AP # 639
Fort Peck Court of Appeals.
March 2, 2017

*Synopsis: In contract dispute over sale of car, car buyer filed motion to show cause why sellers should not be held in contempt for failing to abide by order requiring sellers to deliver clear title and pay costs of $2500. The Fort Peck Tribal Court, Danna Runs Above, J., issued order requiring sellers to comply with previous orders to deliver title and pay costs, or be held in contempt of court. Sellers appealed.

*Holdings:The Fort Peck Court of Appeals held that two tribal court orders requiring car sellers to deliver clear title and pay costs of $2500 effectively renewed judgment.
Affirmed and remanded.

February

January

Escalante and Lopez v. Sells District Council
Ref: 20 14-0236AV
20 15-0 140AV
Appellate Court of the Tohono O'Odham Nation
Jan. 27, 2017

Legal Topics: Sovereign Immunity; Due Process

Fryberg v. Tulalip Tribes Housing Department
14 Am. Tribal Law 18
NO. TUL-CV-AP-2016-0088
Tulalip Tribal Court of Appeals.
January 26, 2017

*Synopsis: Housing Department brought eviction action against tenant. The Tribal Court entered order of default, and denied tenant's motions for reconsideration,intervention/joinder, and recusal of Tribal Court judge. Tenant appealed.

*Holdings: The Tribal Court of Appeals held that:
1) Tribal Court did not err in denying reconsideration;
2) Tribal Court did not err in entering default order on damages;
3) recusal of Tribal Court judge was not warranted;
4) Housing Department was not required to join tenant's siblings; and
5) Tribal Court properly denied intervention to tenant's siblings.
Affirmed.

Stone v. Colville Business Council
2017 WL 2805041
No. AP16–017, 7 CTCR 18
Colville Tribal Court of Appeals.
January 19, 2017.

Legal Topics: Tribal Sovereign Immunity


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