Eleventh Circuit Holds ADEA Does Not Abrogate Tribal Immunity

Here is the opinion in Williams v. Poarch Band of Creek Indians.


Williams Brief

Poarch Band Brief


Lower court materials here.

Federal Court Dismisses ADEA Claim against Tribal Casino

Here are the materials in Boricchio v. Chicken Ranch Casino (E.D. Cal.):

13-1 Motion to Dismiss

18 Opposition

20 Reply

24 DCT Order

Tenth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Title VII Claims against Tribal Corporation

Here is today’s opinion in Somerlott v. Cherokee Nation Distributors. Judge Gorsuch’s concurring opinion (starting at page 21) is a worthy read for tribal leaders and tribal counsel thinking about doing business outside of Indian country.

Briefs are here.

Excerpt here:

Tina Marie Somerlott appeals from the district court’s dismissal of her claims against CND, LLC (“CND”) for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1). Somerlott brought federal employment discrimination claims against CND, alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. After allowing  discovery by both parties, the district court concluded CND was immune from suit under the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity and, therefore, dismissed Somerlott’s complaint in its entirety. Exercising jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291,
this court affirms.

Complete Tenth Circuit Briefing in Somerlott v. Cherokee Nation Distributors (Including Supplemental Briefs)


Somerlott Brief

Cherokee Nation Distr Brief

Somerlott Reply Brief

CA10 Order to File Supplemental Briefs

Somerlott Supplemental Brief

CND Supplemental Brief

The Tenth Circuit panel requested supplemental briefing after oral argument to address this issue:

This court has previously acknowledged that “[t]ribal sovereign immunity is deemed to be coextensive with the sovereign immunity of the United States.” Miner Elec., Inc. v. Muscogee (Creek) Nation, 505 F.3d 1007, 1011 (10th Cir.
2007) (citation omitted). Regarding the sovereign immunity of the United States, other circuits have held that where the United States is the sole shareholder of an entity incorporated under state law, the United States’ sovereign immunity does not extend to the entity. See Panama R. Co. v. Curran, 256 F. 768, 771-72 (5th Cir. 1919) (quoting Bank of the United States v. Planters’ Bank of Georgia, 22 U.S. 904, 907–08 (1824)); Salas v. United States, 234 F. 842, 844–45 (2d Cir.  1916). The parties are therefore directed to submit supplemental briefs regarding the following issues:

a) Does CND’s organization as a separate legal entity under Oklahoma’s Limited Liability Company Act preclude it from sharing in the Cherokee Nation’s sovereign immunity?

Lower court materials here.

Title VII and ADEA Claims against Cherokee Business Dismissed

Here are the materials in Somerlott v. Cherokee Nation Distributors (W.D. Okla.):

CND Motion to Dismiss

Somerlott Response

CND Reply

CND Notice of Supplemental Authority

DCT Order Dismissing Title VII and ADEA Claims