First Circuit Rejects Narragansett Interlocutory Appeal in Sovereign Immunity Matter (Waited Too Long to Appeal Denial of Motion for Reconsideration)

Here is the opinion in Luckerman v. Narragansett Indian Tribe:

CA1 Opinion

An excerpt:

Surveying the foregoing, a prior duty panel of this court cleared the underbrush by  dismissing as untimely any appeal from the denial of the Motion to Dismiss. Luckerman v. Narragansett Indian Tribe, No. 14-1106, Order at 1 (1st Cir. Aug. 29, 2014). That decision obviates the need to decide whether we would have had jurisdiction over an interlocutory appeal from the Motion to Dismiss. We do need to decide, though, whether we have appellate jurisdiction under the collateral order doctrine to review the only order before us: the denial of the untimely Rule 59(e) Motion. For the reasons described below, we conclude that the denial of the Tribe’s untimely Rule 59(e) Motion does not qualify as a collateral order that we may review prior to the end of the litigation in the district court.

Briefs here.

First Circuit Briefs in Luckerman v. Narragansett Tribe


Narrangansett Brief

Luckerman Brief

Narragansett Reply

Lower court materials here.

En Banc Petition in Jackson v. Payday Financial LLC


En banc Petition

Clarkson Amicus Brief

Panel materials here.

Seventh Circuit Rules against Western Sky in Jackson v. Payday Financial LLC — A Warning to Indian Country

Here is the opinion:

CA7 Opinion

Based on these findings, we now conclude that the Plaintiffs’ action should not have been dismissed because the arbitral mechanism specified in the agreement is illusory. We also cannot accept the Loan Entities’ alternative argument for upholding the district court’s dismissal: that the loan documents require that any litigation be conducted by a tribal court on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation. As the Supreme Court has explained, most recently in Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land & Cattle Co., 554 U.S. 316 (2008), tribal courts have a unique, limited jurisdiction that does not extend generally to the regulation of nontribal members whose actions do not implicate the sovereignty of the tribe or the regulation of tribal lands. The Loan Entities have not established a colorable claim of tribal jurisdiction, and, therefore, exhaustion in tribal courts is not required. Accordingly, we cannot uphold the district court’s dismissal on this alternative basis.

Primary briefs here. Supplemental briefs here.

As should be expected by this time, payday lending in Indian country is creating bad law for tribal interests. This case involved a privately owned payday lending operation. Tribally-owned operations will be scrambling to distinguish themselves from this case. Particularly troublesome is the holding and (hopefully) dicta from the opinion that suggests tribal courts have no jurisdiction involving off-reservation lending operations, even though the operation is based in Indian country and even though the lending instrument includes a forum selection clause naming a tribal forum.

My initial recommendations to tribal leaders and counsel — shut down on-reservation-based payday lending operations operated privately immediately. My second recommendation is to ensure that tribal regulations of tribally owned payday lending operations are independent and robust. In other words, tribes must be able to withstand the kind of searching inquiry into their regulatory scheme that the federal court did in this case. Can tribal sovereign lenders say that?

Additional Update in Luckerman v. Narragansett

Here are additional materials in Luckerman v. Narragansett Indian Tribe (D. R.I.):

29 Motion to Correct the Record

33-1 Response

34 DCT Order on Amending the Record

Meanwhile, the tribe has appealed the sovereign immunity issue here to the First Circuit.

Prior posts on this case are here and here.

Federal Court Rejects Narragansett Effort to Dismiss Attorney Fees Suit on Immunity Grounds

Here are the updated materials in Luckerman v. Narragansett Indian Tribe (D. R.I.):

18-1 Narragansett Motion for Reconsideration

19-1 Luckerman Response

20 Narragansett Reply

22 DCT Order Denying Reconsideration

An excerpt:

On August 29, 2013, this Court denied Defendant Narragansett Indian Tribe’s (“Tribe”) motion to dismiss, but stayed adjudication of the case pending tribal exhaustion.1 Now, the Tribe has filed a motion for reconsideration of that decision (ECF No. 18), re-emphasizing the Tribe’s position that its tribal sovereign immunity bars the instant lawsuit, and asking again that the Court dismiss the claims brought by Plaintiff Douglas J. Luckerman. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant’s motion for reconsideration is DENIED.

Earlier, the federal court remanded the case to tribal court for exhaustion purposes, post here. Other lower court materials here and here.

Douglas Luckerman’s Attorney Fees Suit Remanded to Tribal Court

Here are the materials in Luckerman v. Narragansett Indian Tribe (D. R.I.):

8-1 Narragansett Motion to Dismiss

10-1 Luckerman Response

13 Matthew Thomas Affidavit

13-1 Narragansett Reply

16 DCT Order

Prior post here.

Materials in Douglas Luckerman v. Narrangansett Indian Tribe

Here are the materials in this pending matter over an alleged $1.1 million in attorney fees:

Luckerman Complaint

Narrangansett Motion to Dismiss

Luckerman Opposition/Motion to Remand

Narrangansett Reply + Sachem Affidavit

News coverage here.