Here is the request to the California Supreme Court for depublication of Cosentino v. Fuller (Cal. Ct. App.) submitted by thirteen California Indian tribes:
Here’s an excerpt:
Here, it is undisputed that Plaintiff’s suit rests entirely on the quintessentially sovereign action of the Pechanga Gaming Commission: revocation of Plaintiff’s gaming license. Opinion, pp. 6-7. That action cannot be effected by Gaming Commissioners in their personal capacity — only a properly constituted Gaming Commission can revoke a gaming license. Indeed, Congress has recognized that regulation of gaming on tribal lands is central to tribal self-governance. 25 U.S.C. § 2701.
Even though it was “the official action of the [Tribe], following [Defendants’] votes, that caused [Plaintiff]’s alleged injury” (Imperial Granite, 940 F.2d at 1271), the Opinion appears to condition an officer’s immunity on the additional showing that the sovereign’s action fell within its authority and was benignly motivated. Specifically, the Opinion evaluated whether the Tribe’s Commission acted with a retaliatory motive and whether it “revoked [Plaintiff’s] license on a ground identified in the IGRA, the Tribal-State Compact, or the Pechanga Ordinance.” Opinion, pp. 16-17. But where, as here, a plaintiff challenges official action of the tribe, the “tribe’s immunity is not defeated by an allegation that it acted beyond its powers.” Imperial Granite Co., 940 F.2d at 1271. The Opinion invites courts and litigants to disregard this firmly established protection of sovereign action under the guise of a “masked official capacity suit.” Pistor, 2015 WL 3953448, at *5.
Here are previous TurtleTalk posts on this matter: