Business | Law

Supreme Court won't review case involving Indian online lender






A screen shot of a television ad for the defunct Western Sky Financial. Image from Daily Finance

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition in Western Sky v. Jackson, a case involving an online lender in Indian Country.

Martin A. Webb, a member of the Cheyennne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, operated Western Sky Financial until he was forced out of business due to scrutiny from state and federal authorities. Some of his non-Indian customers in Illinois sued his business based on provisions in their loan agreements that required them to file disputes in tribal court.

In August 2014, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that tribal jurisdiction did not exist in the case because it arose between non-Indians and a private company that wasn't owned by the tribe.

"The present dispute does not arise from the actions of nonmembers on reservation land and does not otherwise raise issues of tribal integrity, sovereignty, self-government, or allocation of resources," the unanimous decision stated. "There simply is no colorable claim that the courts of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe can exercise jurisdiction over the Plaintiffs. Tribal exhaustion, therefore, is not required."

Western Sky asked the Supreme Court to review the case. The justices, without comment, declined in an order on Monday.

Also Today:
Connecticut’s Governor Tried To Crack Down On Predatory Lending And Got Accused Of Being Racist (Think Progress 4/28)

7th Circuit Decision:
Deborah Jackson v. Payday Financial, LLC (August 22, 2014)

Oral Arguments in Deborah Jackson v. Payday Financial:

Related Stories:
Law Article: Court blocks tribal jurisdiction in lending case (11/12)
Law Article: Court won't force arbitration in Indian lending case (10/07)
Opinion: Decision calls Indian payday lender's arbitration a 'sham' (09/02)
7th Circuit bars tribal jurisdiction in Indian payday loan dispute (08/26)

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