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Litigation
Turtle Talk: Trouble ahead in Supreme Court case


"The Cook v. Avi Casino Enterprises cert petition has a reasonable chance of being granted. There are a bunch of factors that support the petitioners, and a bunch that don’t.

The case involves dram shop actions against tribal casinos. I’d bet the wide majority of tribal casinos waive sovereign immunity in tribal court for these kinds of actions, but the Cook case and others usually involve a claim brought in state courts, where tribes have not waived their immunity. Interestingly, other than one Oklahoma case, all of the state (and now federal) courts have found that tribal sovereign immunity precludes these actions. Our discussion of the Oklahoma case, and at least three other state cases is here.

So there is a split of authority, but it’s not between federal circuits, which decreases the chance for review somewhat. And there is a Supreme Court case, Rice v. Rehner, a preemption case that held that there is little or no tradition of tribal sovereignty in the context of alchoholic beverage transactions. The petitioners are asking the Court to expand that holding to strike down sovereign immunity in state courts."

Get the Story:
Cook v. Avi Casino Enters. — Trouble? (Turtle Talk 1/30)