Business | Law

DOJ submits brief to Supreme Court in tribal court dispute

At the request of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Department of Justice submitted a brief in Miccosukee Tribe v. Kraus-Anderson Construction, a tribal court jurisdiction case.

Government attorneys are urging the justices not to hear the case. They say the Miccosukee Tribe of Florida cannot use the federal court system to enforce a tribal court judgement.

"This case involves a comparatively infrequent scenario, in which a judgment creditor has asked that a tribal-court judgment be recognized and enforced by a federal district court rather than a state court," DOJ wrote in the brief. Government attorneys say the tribe has failed to cite a treaty or law that would authorize federal court jurisdiction.

The dispute centers on a $1.65 million judgment that the tribe won against Kraus-Anderson Construction Co., a non-Indian company, in tribal court. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said the judgement couldn't be enforced in federal court.

The tribe wants the Supreme Court to overturn the 11th Circuit ruling. In an unusual development, Kraus-Anderson is supporting the tribe's petition.

11th Circuit Decision:
Miccosukee Tribe of Indians v. Kraus-Anderson Company (May 28, 2010)

Related Stories:
Supreme Court requests DOJ brief in tribal court jurisdiction case (1/24)
11th Circuit blocks Miccosukee Tribe from collecting award (6/4)

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