Disturbing Dicta from Federal Court in Arizona

Here is the offending quote:

In March 2009, plaintiff’s son Andy was struck and killed by a Bashas’ truck backing into a loading dock at a supermarket in Chinle, Arizona. In June 2009, plaintiff brought negligence claims against debtors on behalf of herself and the estate in a Navajo tribal court. Although the parties provide little detail on the status of the tribal case, which also involves claims against a property owner and the driver of the truck, we note that non-Indian entities are not subject to the jurisdiction of the tribal court. Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land & Cattle Co.,     U.S.    ,    , 128 S. Ct. 2709, 2726 (2008); Montana v. United States, 450 U.S. 544, 101 S. Ct. 1245 (1981). Nevertheless, the entire case was apparently stayed after debtors entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2009. Motion, Ex. 3 at 2 (“Because of the automatic stay, no serious discovery has been advanced in the Navajo Nation case.”).

Not really true, it just seems that way.

Here is the order: In re Basha’s

And here is a reference to recent scholarship on how dicta becomes law.

One thought on “Disturbing Dicta from Federal Court in Arizona

  1. Tom Murphy August 23, 2010 / 2:28 pm

    When I practiced on the Navajo Nation (from the late 1990s through 2006), I was never aware of Basha’s objecting to tribal court jurisdiction, including in a lawsuit I filed against Basha’s on behalf of a client in the Kayenta District Court. I may be going out on a limb here, but I would think that Basha’s, by consensually entering into lease agreements with the Navajo Nation for property within the Navajo Nation, is probably subject to tribal court civil jurisdiction. And knowing some of the lawyers up there, I suspect it’s probably also written into the lease agreements.

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