Ute Tribe remains busy in court with appeal in contract dispute

The seal of the Ute Tribe of Utah is seen on a gymnasium on the reservation. Photo from Ute Tribe Recreation / Facebook

The Ute Tribe is trying to keep a messy contract dispute out of the Utah state court system.

The tribe contends the dispute with Lynn Becker should be heard in federal court. But Judge Robert Shelby disagreed in an oral ruling on August 16 and said he lacked jurisdiction in the matter.

The tribe has since filed a notice to take the case to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Becker initially sued in federal court in February 2013, alleging the tribe owed him compensation and a cut of the revenues from certain energy development projects. A federal judge dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction and 10th Circuit agreed in a October 2014 decision.

But the dispute wasn't over as Becker filed a new lawsuit in state court in December of that year. He later claimed the tribe owed him $23 million, The Salt Lake Tribune reported, prompting the tribe to sue in federal court in June in hopes of stopping the proceeding.

If the matter remains in federal court, the tribe intends to argue that Becker's contract was never properly approved.

Read More the Story:
Federal judge dismisses tribe’s suit naming state judge (The Salt Lake Tribune 8/24)

10th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Becker v. Ute Indian Tribe (October 21, 2014)

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