Federal Court Asks for Additional Briefing re: “Bad Faith” Exception to Tribal Court Exhaustion Doctrine in Grand Canyon Skywalk Case

Here is yesterday’s order:

DCT Order 2-28-12

The court stated:

On the day before oral argument, Plaintiff filed a supplemental statement of facts, including thirteen new exhibits, purportedly showing bad faith on the part of the tribe. Doc. 21. Plaintiff asserted for the first time at oral argument that this new information and the proffered testimony from the chairwoman of the tribal council would show that the bad faith exception applies. See Redwolf, 196 F.3d at 1065 (a party is exempt from exhausting its claims in tribal court where “an assertion of tribal jurisdiction is motivated by a desire to harass or is conducted in bad faith”).

By raising this issue at the last minute, Plaintiff has provided the Court with no briefing on the contours of the bad faith exception and has afforded Defendants little meaningful opportunity to respond. The Court cannot conclude that the bad faith exception applies on such an incomplete record. Because Plaintiff’s bad faith argument appears to be colorable, the Court will afford the parties an opportunity to brief the issue. The parties should address relevant case law on the bad faith exception, what evidentiary showing of bad faith is required, and the evidence each side claims in support of its position. Because time is important in Plaintiff’s claim, the Court will require the briefing in short order.

Materials are here:

Motion for TRO and Complaint

Hualapai Opposition

Supplement to Opposition to TRO

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