Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP   712.224.5420

Connecticut | Litigation
Column: Connecticut tribes free to sue but not be sued

"As most everyone knows by now, you can't take the Mohegans or Mashantucket Pequots to court in Connecticut because of the tribes' sovereign immunity. You have to sue them in their own courts.

But what some people may not realize is that the Mohegans and Pequots are free to take anyone else to Connecticut court. And they do, a lot.

The two tribes are listed by the Connecticut Judicial Department as parties to dozens and dozens of lawsuits, many of them current, in judicial districts around the state. A Nexis search turns up even more Pequot and Mohegan lawsuits outside Connecticut, in New York, New Jersey, Florida, all over.

Some of these are routine business disputes, with contractors or suppliers, for instance. But much of the litigation is part of what appears to be two big debt collection machines, run by both the tribes, as they go after customers who have borrowed to gamble and haven't paid the money back.

One of these surfaced in the news lately, a lawsuit by the Mohegan Sun against Charles J. Jarjura, the brother of Waterbury Mayor Michael J. Jarjura.

The Mohegans claim that Jarjura, who at one time was a treasurer of his family's wholesale fruit and vegetable business, borrowed $100,000 under a credit agreement and hasn't paid it back, according to a report this month by the Waterbury Republican American.

Given the state of the economy and the propensity of gamblers to chase their losses, I would guess that the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots are running down a lot of big debts lately and $100,000 probably isn't much out of the ordinary."

Get the Story:
David Collins: Tribes Go To Court For Every Dollar (The New London Day 10/29)