Federal Court Allows Some Tobacco Business Claims in Dispute between Sac and Fox, Seneca, and Susanville Rancheria Companies

Here are the materials so far in Allegheny Capital Enterprises LLC v. Cox (W.D. N.Y.):

8 Amended Complaint

17-8 Motion to Dismiss

17-5 Arbitration Decision

21 Response

22 Reply

23 DCT Order

An excerpt:

This is a diversity action commenced by a corporate entity affiliated with the Sac and Fox of Oklahoma Tribe (doing business in the Seneca Nation in New York) and a partnership doing business in the Seneca Nation. They claim that Defendants, officers of affiliated corporations of the Susanville Indian Rancheria (a Native tribe in California, also referred to as “SIR”), made misrepresentations to Plaintiffs that led to Plaintiffs entering into the tobacco manufacturing and distribution contracts with one of the affiliated corporations. Defendants represented that they had the authority to waive tribal sovereign immunity for the affiliate corporation and that the affiliate in fact waived that immunity. After an alleged breach of these contracts, Plaintiffs lodged claims against one of the affiliate corporations, but the corporation successfully asserted that it did not waive its tribal sovereign immunity. Plaintiffs then commenced this action against the officers; they did not name the corporation as a Defendant.

Before this Court is Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss (Docket No. 17) the Amended Complaint on sovereign immunity, jurisdictional, and pleading grounds. For the reasons stated herein, Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss is granted in part (dismissing claims against Defendants Stacy Dixon and Jolene Robles for lack of personal jurisdiction), denied in part (denying other grounds asserted). After resolution of this motion, Plaintiffs retain claims against Defendant Gretchen Cox.

Iowa SCT Affirms State Criminal Jurisdiction; Magistrate Judge Richard Vander Mey Had Barred Tribe/State from Invoking Jurisdiction of His Court [updated]

Here is the opinion in State v. Stanton:


An excerpt:

Upon review of the complaints, a magistrate concluded that recent federal legislation removed state jurisdiction for crimes committed on the Settlement. As a result, the magistrate dismissed the three pending misdemeanor charges and assessed costs against the Meskwaki Nation. The magistrate further advised that the Tama County Sheriff should consult with the county attorney to determine whether prisoners such as the defendant should even be received and retained in custody by the Tama County Sheriff. The district court further stated that tribal police officers should be instructed by tribal judicial officers to cease and desist from charging persons with violations of the Iowa Code as such charges “will only serve to clog state courts and result in the imposition of court costs upon the Meskwaki Tribe for cases which must be dismissed.”




Resistance to Application for Discretionary Review [Vander Mey pleading]

Sac and Fox Amicus Brief

US Amicus Brief

Federal and tribal amicus briefs not available. If anyone has them, please send to me. Would also love to read the lower court opinion.

Judge Vander Mey is a repeat player on TT. In 2011, mad about the Iowa Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, he refused to accept the tribe’s immunity defenses in civil actions. He was removed from the bench for a time, but then reinstated.

In 2017, Vander Mey again refused to acknowledge tribal sovereignty in another civil suit.

Suit re: Return of Jim Thorpe’s Remains to Proceed under NAGPRA Theory

Here are the materials in Thorpe v. Borough of Thorpe (M.D. Pa.):

Borough Motion to Dismiss

Thorpe Opposition

Borough Reply

DCT Order Denying Borough Motion to Dismiss

Update on Iowa Magistrate that Lambasted Tribal Immunity

In short, he’s been suspended, at least partially. Here is the news clip.

And an excerpt:

It is unknown if the action is linked to either of two rulings made recently by Vander Mey which garnered headlines.

On April 20, Vander Mey handed down a ruling in a small claims case which found the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa was not sovereign and could be ordered in Iowa Magistrate Court to pay the small claim for money owed to a pit boss who had been fired by the Tribal-owned Meskwaki Bingo • Casino.

On May 5, Vander Mey ordered a drunken driving suspect released because she was not brought before the court within 24 hours of her arrest by Meskwaki Nation Tribal Police. He ruled this violated the defendant’s right to a court appearence according to the Iowa Code.

That ruling has been appealed by Assistant Tama County Attorney Niki A.S. Whitacre.

And a link to the ruling that started this.

Iowa Court of Appeals Decides Insurance Coverage Matter related to Sac and Fox Leadership Dispute

Here is the opinion in Scottsdale Ins. Co. v. Attys. Process & Investigation Servs. An excerpt:

Attorneys Process & Investigation Services, Inc. (APIS), appeals the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Scottsdale Insurance Company on its petition seeking a declaratory judgment that an insurance policy it had issued to APIS provided no coverage for acts alleged in a lawsuit filed by the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa (Tribe) against APIS in tribal court. APIS also appeals the district court‟s dismissal of its counterclaims against Scottsdale. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand to the district court for further proceedings.

Attorney’s Process and Investigation Services v. Sac and Fox Tribe — Case Reopened

This case arises out of alleged tortious nonmember conduct during the leadership dispute at Meskawki a few years back. In 2005, the Northern District of Iowa applied the tribal court exhaustion doctrine as justification for staying the case (nov-2005-dct-order). The tribal court’s processes have run (motion-to-reopen-case [includes tribal court decision]), and now the case has been reopened (dct-order-reopening-case).

This will be a very interesting application of the Montana test, if the court reaches the merits.

Iowa Court of Appeals Rejects Bid to Intervene in Indian Child Case by Sac and Fox Tribe

Here is the opinion in In the Interest of A.P. and S.T. From the opinion:

The Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa (Tribe) appeals from the juvenile court‟s denial of its motion to intervene in children in need of assistance (CINA) proceedings that involve two children it alleges are Indian children within the meaning of Iowa‟s Indian Child Welfare Act (Iowa ICWA), Iowa Code chapter 232B (2007). Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the juvenile court

Iowa Supreme Court Orders Transfer of Indian Child Case to Sac and Fox Tribal Court

Here is the opinion In the Interest of N.V.

And a news article about the decision from the Des Moines Register. An excerpt:

The Iowa Supreme Court said Friday the custody of two children whose parents had been in jail may be transferred to the tribal court of the Sac and Fox Tribe.

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