First Circuit Briefs in Challenge to Tribal Immunity under Bankruptcy Act

Here are the briefs in In re Coughlin:

Opening Brief

Joint Response Brief

NAFOA Amicus Brief

2021-07-22 Amici Professors of Federal Indian Law Brief – 1st Cir Docket No 21-1153

Lower court materials here.

Federal Court Certifies Class in Williams v. Big Picture Loans

Here are the materials in Williams v. Big Picture Loans LLC (E.D. Va.) (this case is on remand from the Fourth Circuit):

960 DCT Order re Motion for Protective Order

968 Motion to Certify Class

1007 Opposition to 968

1055 Reply in Support of 968

1090 DCT Order Denying Motion for Stay Pending Appeal

1106 DCT on Motion to Certify Class

1110 Memorandum Opinion

Prior post here.

Federal Court Rejects Immunity Defense in Tribal Payday Lending Matter

Here are the relevant materials in Brice v. Stinson (N.D. Cal.):

182 Motion for Summary Judgment

197 Opposition

216 Reply

236 DCT Order

An excerpt:

Plaintiffs seek summary judgment on defendants’ third affirmative defense; that some defendants are protected by or some claims extinguished by tribal immunity. In their opposition, defendants admit they personally “are not entitled to assert or invoke sovereign immunity as a defense to these claims” but nonetheless argue plaintiffs’ litigation “of these claims against shareholders of entities providing contractual services to those lenders is a significant infringement on the sovereignty of the tribes. . . . .” Dkt. No. 197 at 22. Defendants miss the point. The claims here hinge on the personal conduct of the defendants. While that conduct is based in significant part on the services defendants personally engaged in or approved to be provided to the Tribes, the claims do not impede on the sovereignty of the Tribes where the Tribes are not defendants in this case and no Tribal Entities remain. Absent apposite caselaw or facts showing how this action “interferes with the purpose or operation of a federal policy regarding tribal interests,” tribal immunity is irrelevant to this action.

Michigan (“largely”) Prevails over Keweenaw Bay Indian Community on Sales and Use Taxes

Here are the updated materials in Keweenaw Bay Indian Community v. Khouri (W.D. Mich.):

317 Michigan MSJ

328 KBIC MSJ

365 Michigan Response to 328

370 KBIC Response to 317

376 Michigan Reply

377 KBIC Reply

421 DCT Order re State Prosecutions

422 DCT Order re Protective Order

423 DCT Order

Prior post here.

Federal Court Holds S. Cal. Indian Health Consortium Immune from Suit

Here are the materials in Manzano v. Southern Indian Health Council Inc. (S.D. Cal.):

1 Complaint

5-1 Motion to Dismiss

7 Opposition

10 Reply

16 DCT Order

Irrigation Districts Counterclaims against US & Ak-Chin Community Dismissed in Water Rights Suit

Here are the updated materials in Ak-Chin Indian Community v. Maricopa-Stanfield Irrigation & Drainage District (D. Ariz.):

56 US Motion to Dismiss Counterclaims

60 Second Amended Complaint

65 Irrigation Districts Response to 56

69 US Reply in Support of 56

73-1 Ak-Chin Motion to Dismiss Counterclaims

81 Irrigation Districts Response to 73

86 Ak-Chin Reply in Support of 73

112 DCT Order

Prior post here.

Federal Court Enjoins Pinoleville Pomo Nation Tribal Court Designed to Challenge Federal Court RICO Judgment

Here is the order in JW Gaming Development LLC v. James (N.D. Cal.):

363 DCT Order

An excerpt:

Shortly after judgment was entered in this case, PPN constituted its Tribal Court for the first time; there is no evidence that it ever existed in any meaningful way until then. Days after the newly appointed judge issued standing orders, PPN filed a civil complaint in that Tribal Court that seeks to (1) declare the judgment issued in this case invalid, (2) limit and control—indeed, vitiate—the scope of enforcement of that judgment, and (3) impose roughly eleven million dollars in liability on JW Gaming for alleged fraud stemming from the same loan agreement here. The lawsuit names not only JW Gaming but its attorneys in this matter and the bank at which PPN maintains accounts that was recently subpoenaed in the course of enforcement of the judgment. It is the first (and, as far as the record shows, only) case brought in the Tribal Court. Remarkably, up until the eve of the hearing on a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) against the proceeding, which I ultimately denied, JW Gaming could not find publicly available information about how appear in that proceeding (despite being served with a summons), who the judge was, or what the rules were.

JW Gaming moved for an order to show cause why an injunction should not issue, which I denied. It then moved for the TRO, which I converted into a motion for a preliminary injunction once PPN’s counsel committed to placing the Tribal Court proceeding on hold. That motion is now ripe for decision.

It is critical that federal courts respect tribal sovereignty and tribal court jurisdiction. Tribes are sovereign nations. Their ability to govern themselves and enjoy the full benefits of sovereignty is unquestioned. Tribal courts, as arms of the tribe, are entitled to substantial comity and deference under established federal law. I previously denied JW Gaming’s motion for an order to show cause why an injunction should not issue out of these concerns. I remain vigilant about the compelling interest that PPN has in maintaining its sovereignty.

Those concerns, however, do not prevent an injunction against a Tribal Court proceeding that seeks to invalidate or interfere with the judgment entered in this Court. There are compelling interests in ensuring that enforcement of valid federal-court judgments is not interfered with, that JW Gaming is not required to litigate a lawsuit precision-engineered to invalidate and interfere with this one, and that third parties are not exposed to court orders or liability for simply enforcing a judgment or attempting to comply with the procedures for enforcing it. To the extent the lawsuit seeks to invalidate the judgment or interfere with enforcement, it is unquestionably meritless: a tribal court lacks authority to invalidate a federal court’s judgments or to dictate the scope of executing that those judgments. JW Gaming has shown it is entitled to a preliminary injunction to the extent that the Tribal Court proceedings attempts to invalidate, interfere with, or thwart the judgment entered here. I possess jurisdiction to enter this injunction to protect and effectuate the judgment. The doctrine of tribal court exhaustion does not apply because PPN exercised its sovereign power to clearly, expressly, and unequivocally waive it.

Briefs and related materials here.