Federal Court Dismisses Kialegee Tribal Town v. Dillinger for Lack of Federal Question

Here are the materials in Kialegee Tribal Town v. Dellinger (N.D. Okla.):

2 Complaint

4 Motion for PI

8 DCT Order

an excerpt:

The Court finds that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this case because plaintiffs have not shown in their complaint that the Court would be required to resolve a substantial and disputed question of federal law. Plaintiffs’ complaint identifies an issue of federal law concerning the enforcement of IGRA by an Indian tribe, but plaintiffs have not adequately alleged facts supporting even an inference that the MCN was seeking to enforce IGRA. Dellinger’s letter strongly supports the conclusion that the MCN was seeking to enforce its own laws when it took possession of the Bruner allotment. The law is clearly established that federal courts lack the authority to resolve disputes over tribal law, and such disputes fall exclusively within the jurisdiction of tribal courts. Attorney’s Process & Investigation Servs., Inc. v. Sac & Fox Tribe of Mississippi in Iowa, 609 F.3d 927, 943 (8th Cir. 2010); Wheeler v. United States Dep’t of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, 811 F.2d 549, 551-52 (10th Cir. 1987). The Court lacks jurisdiction to hear matters solely concerning the interpretation of tribal law, and plaintiffs must litigate their case in tribal court to the extent that plaintiffs’ contest the enforcement of tribal gaming laws. As the parties seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of this court, plaintiffs bear the burden to establish that “federal law creates the cause of action or that the plaintiff’s right to relief necessarily depends on resolution of a substantial question of federal law.” Franchise Tax Bd. of State of California, 463 U.S. at 27-28. Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden, and this case should be dismissed.