15 Am. Tribal Law 255, 7 CTCR 30
Colville Tribal Court of Appeals.
James CLEMENTS & Jason Clements, Appellants,
COLVILLE CONFEDERATED TRIBES, Appellees.
Case No. CV-OC-2018-41000
Decided March 19, 2019
On January 5, 2018 Appellee, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (CCT) filed a Civil Complaint against Appellants James Clements and Jason Clements, as well as against South Bay Excavating Company, Inc. and Liquid Networks, Inc. Appellee alleged Appellants, in their individual and corporate capacities, committed breach of contract. Appellants herein made a limited appearance and moved to dismiss the action based on lack of subject matter and personal jurisdiction.
On May 17, 2018 the Trial Court entered an order denying Appellants’ motion to dismiss, from which they timely filed an Interlocutory Appeal, alleging the issues of subject matter and personal jurisdiction involves controlling substantive issues of law which could determine a sooner termination of the litigation. Briefs were filed and we held an hearing on the request for the interlocutory appeal on December 21, 2018.
SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION
The subject of the lawsuit is a contract entered into by the parties1 regarding construction services on the Colville Reservation. The damages alleged to have occurred on the Colville Reservation. The contract which is the basis of the Civil Complaint states the Colville Tribal Court has sole and exclusive jurisdiction over disputes under the contract. The Trial Court held it had subject matter jurisdiction, based on the facts stated. We agree.
Appellants point out that the contract in question was entered into by South Bay Excavating Company, Inc., which was later assigned to the company Liquid Networks, Inc., formed by Appellant Jason Clements. They allege they did not act as individuals; the actions were taken by the corporations.
Appellee argues because of the inherent closeness of Appellants and the corporations, the Courts should “pierce the corporate veil” and find personal jurisdiction over the individual Appellants/Respondents.
This is an interlocutory appeal. There has been no fact-finding for us to review regarding the arguments for and against personal jurisdiction. The question of piercing the corporate veil is a question of fact. As such, it is not ripe for an interlocutory appeal, it is a matter for the fact-finder at the trial level. For these reasons we dismiss without prejudice the interlocutory appeal on this issue.
We AFFIRM the Trial Court’s decision that it has subject matter jurisdiction. We DISMISS WITHOUT PREJUDICE the appeal regarding personal jurisdiction and remand to the Trial Court for action consistent with this decision.
It is SO ORDERED.
We refer to the parties as designated by the Complaint, and make no decision if Appellants herein are subject to personal jurisdiction as individuals.