SCOTUS Denies Cert in Knighton v. Cedarville Rancheria

Here is the order list.

Cert stage materials here.

Lower court materials here.

Knighton v. Cedarville Rancheria Cert Petition



Questions presented:

“[T]he inherent sovereign powers of an Indian tribe do not extend to the activities of nonmembers of the tribe.” Montana v. United States, 450 U.S. 544, 565 (1981). The Montana Court recognized two limited narrow exceptions to that rule. But the Court has never resolved the question of whether tribal courts may ever exercise civil tort jurisdiction over nonmembers. In Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land & Cattle Co., 554 U.S. 316 (2008) and in Dollar General Corporation and Dolgencorp, LLC v. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, et. al. 136 S.Ct. 2159 (2016) the issue was brought before this Court, but unanswered. This case presents the issue of: Whether Indian tribal courts have jurisdiction to adjudicate civil tort claims against nonmembers?

Further this case presents the issue of: If the Indian tribal courts have jurisdiction to adjudicate civil tort claims over nonmembers, what is the prerequisite notice of any such authority, what is the prerequisite consent thereto by a nonmember, and what is the viable scope of such jurisdiction so as to satisfy the Due Process rights of a nonmember?

Lower court materials here.


Brief in Opposition–PDFA

Ninth Circuit Panel Grants Rehearing in Knighton v. Cedarville Rancheria

Maybe this is nothing, but this is a little bit WEIRD . . . in that the Ninth Circuit’s opinions webpage links to an order granting rehearing (here) but there was no response brief docketed AND there is nothing on the court’s docket sheet indicating the petition was granted.

Here is the petition BTW:

Knighton Petition for Rehearing

Panel materials here.


Cedarville Rancheria Prevails in Tribal Exhaustion Matter

Here are the materials in Knighton v. Cedarville Rancheria of Northern Paiute Indians (E.D. Cal.):

1 Complaint

10 Motion to Dismiss

14 Opposition

15 Reply

17 DCT Order

An excerpt:

Plaintiff Duanna Knighton, the former Tribal Administrator for defendant Cedarville Rancheria of Northern Paiute Indians (“the Tribe”), seeks declaratory and injunctive relief against the Tribe, Cedarville Rancheria Tribal Court (“Tribal Court”), and Tribal Court Judge Patricia R. Lenzi (“Tribal Judge Lenzi”) (collectively “defendants”) to avoid Tribal Court jurisdiction over claims that she defrauded the Tribe and breached her fiduciary duties to it. Defendants move to dismiss Knighton’s complaint because the Tribal Court has jurisdiction. I agree that it has both regulatory and adjudicative authority over its former employee under the facts alleged; accordingly, it has subject matter jurisdiction. Defendants’ motion is GRANTED WITH PREJUDICE.