Federal Court Orders Exhaustion in Claims involving Interpretation of Navajo Insurance Law

Here are the materials in Progressive Advanced Insurance Company v. Worker (D. Ariz.):

11 Motion to Dismiss

15 Response

16 Reply

17 DCT Order

An excerpt:

The Court determines that the tribal courts of the Navajo Nation have a colorable or plausible claim to jurisdiction over this matter. See Elliott, 566 F.3d at 848. Like the insurer in Stump, Progressive issued an insurance policy that listed a tribal member as a named insured and covered vehicles that were kept on tribal lands. Unlike the insurer in Stump, however, Progressive never mailed anything to an address on tribal lands. To the extent that factor is dispositive, it may be that the tribal court lacks jurisdiction. But this is a question that must be answered first by the tribal courts of the Navajo Nation. See LaPlante, 480 U.S. at 16 (explaining that the tribal court should have “‘the first opportunity to evaluate the factual and legal bases for the challenge’ to its jurisdiction”). An analysis of the Todecheene decision does not change this conclusion. In that case, the Ninth Circuit ultimately determined that it was not clear that the tribal courts plainly lacked jurisdiction. Todecheene, 488 F.3d at 1216. This Court reaches the same conclusion here.