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Mohegan Tribe casino worker wins case due to sovereign immunity


Filed Under: Connecticut | Litigation
More on: connecticut, employment, immunity, mohegan, supreme court, tribal courts
     
   

The Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. Photo from Facebook

The sovereign immunity of the Mohegan Tribe extends to a casino employee, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled on Monday.

William Clarke was a limousine driver at the Mohegan Sun who was accused of negligence in connection with an October 2011 accident involving another vehicle. But he can't be sued because he "was acting within the scope of his employment when the accident that injured the plaintiffs occurred," Justice Dennis G. Eveleigh wrote in the unanimous decison

"It is well established that '[t]he doctrine of tribal immunity extends to individual tribal officials acting in their representative capacity and within the scope of their authority,'" Eveleigh continued.

The couple that sued Clarke could have proceeded in tribal court. But Brian and Michelle Lewis apparently missed a statute of limitations so they went to the state court system instead.

The tribe was initially named as a defendant but was removed because the couple feared losing an immunity claim. They could now ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the matter involving Clarke,

The attorney who represents the Lewises also represented the passengers in Clarke's limo. One who suffered serious damage settled with the tribe for $775,000 while three others received a total of about $50,000, The Connecticut Law Tribune reported in June 2015. All four sued in tribal court within the statute of limitations.

The case is Lewis v. Clarke, No. 19464.

Get the Story:
Tribe can’t be sued in crash, Supreme Court rules (The Manchester Journal Inquirer 3/8)

Connecticut Supreme Court Decision:
Lewis v. Clarke (To Be Published March 15, 2016)

Related Stories:
Mohegan Tribe's casino employee faces lawsuit over accident (6/23)

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