Law

Federal judge won't be removed from Miccosukee Tribe's case






The flag of the Miccosukee Tribe of Florida

A federal judge won't be removed from hearing a lawsuit filed by the Miccosukee Tribe of Florida.

The tribe accused Judge Marcia Cooke of bias, citing statements she made in open court. But Chief Judge K. Michael Moore determined there was no sign of impartiality.

"The court finds that these statements, while indicative of Judge Cooke's understandable frustration with the parties and proceedings, in no way demonstrate a bias or partiality," Moore wrote, The Daily Business Review reported.

The tribe has accused three former attorneys of malpractice and fraud. Those attorneys -- all of whom are former federal prosecutors -- have fired back and are seeking sanctions against the tribe and its current attorney.

Cooke dismissed the malpractice lawsuit. She also disqualified one of the tribe's attorneys due to his prior role as a state judge.

The tribe was represented by Guy Lewis and Michael Tein of Lewis Tein. The firm's high fees were exposed in a wrongful death lawsuit involving two tribal members. The tribe was relieved of paying a $4.1 million judgement.

The tribe was also represented by Dexter Lehtinen. The tribe claims his faulty legal advice exposed the tribe and its members to million of dollars in fines and penalties regarding per capita payments.

Get the Story:
Chief Judge Rejects Miccosukee Recusal Request (The Daily Business Review 10/24)

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Miccosukee Tribe seeks removal of judge in dispute with lawyers (09/11)