Two New Tribal Court Opinions from Turtle Mountain and Mille Lacs

The first, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians v. Williams, involves a facial challenge to the tribal exclusion ordinance:

williams appeal decision

The second, Davis v. Poitra, consolidated with Malaterre v. Belcourt School Dist. No. 7, involves tribal court jurisdiction over claims brought against the school district:

Davis v. Belcourt School District

Federal Court Blocks Ute Tribe’s Efforts to Exclude QEP (Questar)

Here is the P.I. order in QEP v. Ute Indian Tribe (D. Utah): DCT Order Granting QEP Preliminary Injunction.

The court noted:

Although the court would generally stay its proceeding in deference to the tribal system until appellate review was complete, exhaustion is not required “where the action is patently violative of express jurisdictional prohibitions, or where exhaustion would be futile because of the lack of an adequate opportunity to challenge the court’s jurisdiction.” Id. at 856, n.21.

The court would stay its determination if the question of the Tribal Court’s jurisdiction rested on an analysis of the jurisdictional bounds set forth in Montana. But because there was a clear and unambiguous waiver of Tribal Court jurisdiction in the Agreement, the litigation in Tribal Court is patently violative of the parties’ written agreement and exhaustion is unnecessary. In addition, because QEP needs immediate relief as described below and cannot seek money damages from the sovereign Tribe, exhaustion would deprive QEP of an adequate remedy.

Briefs are here.