Column: Judge affirms tribal courts jurisdiction in casino claims

Columnist reports on the decision in Pueblo of Santa Ana v. Nash, which affects tribal court jurisdiction over casino claims:
In their compacts with the state, Indian tribes with casinos agreed to carry liability insurance and to waive immunity in cases of customers claiming personal injury or property damage.

Tribes also agreed a customer could choose to bring a claim in state District Court rather than tribal court – unless a court ruled the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act doesn’t permit the shifting of jurisdiction over customers’ lawsuits from tribal courts to state courts.

Now, a federal judge has done just that.

District Judge C. LeRoy Hansen in Albuquerque ruled in September that state District Court doesn’t have jurisdiction in a case brought against Tamaya Enterprises, which is owned by the Pueblo of Santa Ana and operates the Santa Ana Star Casino.

Hansen’s ruling nullifies a New Mexico Supreme Court decision more than two years ago that the case against Tamaya Enterprises could proceed in state District Court because of the provisions in the state-tribal gaming compacts.

Get the Story:
Thomas J. Cole: Casino customers must sue in tribal court, judge rules (The Albuquerque Journal 11/20)

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