Here are the materials in In re Internet Lending Cases, AKA Rosas v. AMG Services, Inc.:
Two points on payday lenders that should be apparent by now:
1. Read the Nebraska Supreme Court decision in StoreVisions v. Omaha Tribe, where the court held that tribal immunity was waived where the tribal chair and vice chair signed a waiver document (without constitutional authority to waive immunity) in the presence of other council members, and which the court held the presence of the other council members was sufficient to waive tribal immunity. Courts will find a way to find a waiver.
2. Read David Fredericks’ rendition (pp.217-18) of the oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in C&L Enters. v. Citizen Potawatomi, where the Court directly asked the CPN attorney about the way tribes view immunity, and the deeply off-put reaction from the Court by the answer. In fact, here is that exchange (well worth the read):
And here is the Court’s syllabus:
In this tribal sovereign immunity case, the Colorado Supreme Court affirms the court of appeals’ decision to remand the case to the trial court to determine whether Cash Advance and Preferred Cash Loans act as arms of the Miami Nation of Oklahoma and the Santee Sioux Nation, respectively, such that their activities are properly deemed to be those of the tribes. As an initial matter, the court holds that tribal sovereign immunity applies to judicial enforcement of state investigatory actions, including this state investigative subpoena enforcement action. Because the trial court arrived at a contrary conclusion, a remand is necessary to determine whether Cash Advance and Preferred Cash Loans are arms of their respective tribes such that their activities are properly deemed to be those of the tribes.
In determining whether Cash Advance and Preferred Cash Loans are arms of their respective tribes, the trial court shall consider the following three factors: (1) whether the tribes created the entities pursuant to tribal law; (2) whether the tribes own and operate the entities; and (3) whether the entities’ immunity protects the tribes’ sovereignty. The state bears the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Cash Advance and Preferred Cash Loans are not entitled to tribal sovereign immunity.
Additionally, the supreme court disagrees with the court of appeals’ determination that tribal sovereign immunity does not extend to tribal officers engaged in conduct allegedly violating state law. Instead, the appropriate determination with respect to individual tribal officers is whether they acted within the scope of their lawful authority, as defined by the tribe and limited only by federal law.The supreme court further disagrees with the court of appeals’ to the extent it would recognize a waiver of sovereign immunity that is not explicit and unequivocal. The court of appeals directed the trial court to look for a waiver of tribal sovereign immunity in a broad range of sources, including a contractual arbitration clause between Cash Advance or Preferred Cash Loans and Colorado customers. The court, however, finds it unlikely that an explicit and unequivocal waiver of tribal sovereign immunity would be found in such an arbitration clause.
Here is Cash Advance’s brief in Colorado ex rel. Suthers v. Cash Advance — Cash Advance Opening Brief
This case involves an effort by Cash Advance and other payday loan companies to avoid state investigation/process by licensing themselves with Indian tribes (the Miami Tribe and Santee Sioux Nation), and asserting tribal sovereign immunity. Our previous posting with links to related materials is here.
Here is the opinion from the California Court of Appeals in Ameriloan v. Superior Court — ameriloan-v-superior-court-opinion
This appears to be a case similar to one decided recently in the Colorado Court of Appeals, Colorado v. Cash Advance, the so-called “Rent-A-Tribe” case. There, as in this case, the state appellate court reversed a lower court decision not to quash a summons against these instant loan companies, or payday lenders. The legal theory was, and is, that the company is owned by an Indian tribe and therefore immune from suit in state court.
This case involves the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and the Santee Sioux Tribe, the same tribes involved in the Colorado case.