Wisconsin COA Rejects Claims of Taxpayers Who Didn’t Like That Indians Had Tax Immunity and Therefore Didn’t Want To Pay Taxes, Either

Here are the materials in Klein v. Wisconsin Dept. of Revenue (Wis. Ct. App.):


Wisconsin Brief

Klein Brief


Termination of Parental Rights Decision out of Wisconsin


The Wisconsin Court of Appeals affirmed a termination of parental rights decision under ICWA and WICWA using Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (finding abandonment/lack of continued custody by non-Indian father).

Wisc. Court of Appeals Affirms Dismissal of DNR Claims

Here are the materials in the matter of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources v. Timber and Wood Products Located in Sawyer County et al, 2017AP181 (Dec. 19, 2017):

Wisconsin Appellate Court Rules in Favor of Protecting Ward Mound Burial Effigy Group

Here are the materials in Wingra Redi-Mix Inc. d/b/a Wingra Stone Company v. Burial Sites Preservation Board:

Wingra Brief

Ho Chunk Nation Brief

Burial Sites Preservation Board Brief

Wingra Reply

Wisc COA Opinion

And here are the materials in the companion case Wingra Redi-Mix Inc. d/b/a Wingra Stone Company v. State Historical Society of Wisconsin:

Historical Society Brief

Ho Chunk Nation Brief

Wingra Brief

Historical Society Reply

Ho Chunk Nation Reply

Wingra Reply

Wisc COA Opinion

Wisconsin COA Affirms Immunity of Tribal Enterprise from Employment Claim

Here is the unpublished opinion in Harris v. Lake of the Torches Resort & Casino (Wis. App.):

2015.03.10 – Court of Appeals Opinion – Harris Appeal II

Briefs are here.

Wisconsin COA Briefs in Tribal Immunity Matter

Here are the briefs in Harris v. Lake of the Torches Resort & Casino (Wis. App.):

Harris Opening Brief

Tribal Response Brief

Harris Reply

Wisconsin COA Reverses Conviction of American Indian After Prosecutor Struck Only Indian Juror

Here is the opinion in State v. Snow:

Wisconsin v. Snow

An excerpt:

Karen Lynne Snow appeals from a judgment of conviction for operating a motor vehicle with a prohibited alcohol concentration and an order denying her motion for a new trial. Snow argues that she was denied equal protection under the United States and Wisconsin Constitutions when the prosecutor used a peremptory strike to remove the only Native American prospective juror and referenced that prospective juror’s “Ho-Chunk culture” when explaining the strike. I conclude that the circuit court clearly erred when it ruled that the prosecutor’s peremptory strike of the prospective juror did not violate Snow’s right under the Equal Protection Clause and therefore reverse the conviction and remand the case for a new trial.

Wisconsin SCT to Hear Nonmember Challenge to Tribal Immunity

Here. Lower court materials here. From the SCT’s website:

2011AP364 Koscielak v. Stockbridge-Munsee Community
This case examines whether tribal sovereign immunity bars a state law tort claim arising from a slip-and-fall incident and the proper legal standard involved in guiding that analysis.

Some background: On Feb. 22, 2008, Robert Koscielak sustained injuries when he slipped and fell on ice in the Pine Hills Golf and Supper Club parking lot in Gresham, Wis. He and his wife, Mary Koscielak, filed suit against the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans under the tribe’s business name, Pine Hills, on June 1, 2010, alleging a variety of tort claims.

Pine Hills moved to dismiss the lawsuit and its motion was converted to a motion for summary judgment. The Tribe argued that Pine Hills was a subordinate economic entity of the Tribe such that Pine Hills was entitled to the sovereign immunity conferred upon the Tribe by federal law. The circuit court agreed. The court also ruled that because the Koscielaks’ claims against the tribe were barred, their claims against the tribe’s insurer, First Americans Insurance, were barred, too.

The Koscielaks appealed, arguing, among other things, the circuit court erred in applying the doctrine of tribal immunity under the specific facts presented. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

The Court of Appeals ultimately concluded that Wisconsin law has never before distinguished between tort and contract claims for tribal immunity purposes. The court thus declined to draw such a distinction here, stating that the “matter is best left to the Wisconsin Supreme Court or the federal courts.” The Koscielaks do not directly challenge tribal immunity, per se. Rather, they argue that Pine Hills is not entitled to tribal sovereign immunity because its business activities are too attenuated from the Tribe.

More specifically, they state the issues as follows:

  • Does a federally recognized Indian tribe enjoy sovereign immunity from suit on a state law tort claim not arising out of a contract with the tribe, of a Wisconsin citizen who is not a member of any Indian tribe, for personal injuries sustained at an off-reservation tribally owned for profit supper club open to the general public, to extend to a true “arm of the tribe” business?
  • Is the multi-factor “arm of the tribe” analysis set forth in McNally CPA’s & Consultants, S.C. v. DJ Hosts, Inc., 2004 WI App 221, ¶8, 277 Wis. 2d 801, 692 N.W.2d 247, which the Court of Appeals discredited and failed to apply to the business at issue, the controlling legal test for Wisconsin courts to apply to determine when any sovereign immunity enjoyed by a tribe may properly extend to a tribally-owned business entity?
  • Based on a de novo review with proper application of that test, or other “arm of the tribe” test that this court may establish, is Pine Hills Golf Course and Supper Club an “arm of the tribe”?
  • Under an “occurrence” type insurance policy, are the Koscielaks entitled to the benefit of mandated non-immune liability insurance coverage based on the tribe’s legal position at the time of the “occurrence” in an unrelated federal case that Pine Hills was a gaming entity under its Gaming Compact?

The tribe and First American frame the issues as follows:

  • Does this court have any reason or authority to create an exception to the established rule of tribal sovereign immunity?
  • Do the facts of this case, which involve a unit of the tribe itself, present any occasion for clarifying or modifying factors developed by other courts for determining whether a tribe’s immunity extends to a separately-incorporated organization?
  • May an ordinary commercial general liability carrier be held directly liable to an injured party if its insured is immune?

From Shawano County.

Wisconsin COA Affirms Stockbridge-Munsee Immunity in State Courts

Here are the materials in Koscielak v. Stockbridge-Munsee Community:

Wisc. COA Opinion

Kscoielak Opening Brief

Stockbridge-Munsee Brief

Kscoielak Reply Brief