San Pasqual Band loses claim for damages in gaming dispute

A sign at the Valley View Casino in Valley Center, California. Photo from Facebook

The San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians cannot seek $315 million in damages from the state of California, an appeals court ruled on Monday.

For seven years, the state denied the tribe the ability to offer 2,000 slot machines as promised by the Class III gaming compact. But the agreement specifically prevents both parties from seeking monetary damages for breaches, the court wrote in the unpublished opinion.

"Giving the damage waiver provision a fair reading, we find it to be an unambiguous bilateral provision, applicable when either party resorts to a judicial forum for resolving any dispute arising under the compact," Beth Grimes, an Associate Justice of the Second District Court of Appeal, Division Eight, wrote in the decision.

The tribe was finally able to operate 2,000 slot machines at the Valley View Casino in October 2009 after requests going back to 2002 were rejected by the state. Between those years, the tribe contended that it lost out on $315 million in profits.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians v. State.

California Second District Court of Appeal Decision:
San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians v. State (October 5, 2015)

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