Sovereignty

Employee Immunity Challenged by Court

Yesterday the United States Supreme Court ruled against tribal interests in the employee sovereign immunity decision titled Lewis v. Clarke.  Recall that Mr. Clarke operated a Mohegan Sun limousine wherein he allegedly crashed into the Lewis's causing property damage and personal injuries. The case challenges the application of tribal sovereign immunity for the protection from a lawsuit for an employee of a tribal enterprise.  The case is an appeal of a ruling by the Connecticut [...]

Do tribal employers have control over the immunity of tribal officials and employees?

Yes. Immunity is a defense to a lawsuit wherein the tribal government asserts that the court does not possess power or jurisdiction over the tribal defendant without the defendant’s consent.  There is a debate, and therefore risk to tribal employers, of whether explicit or implied consent is necessary to reach consent, but that debate is for another day. Tribal employers can raise the defense of immunity if the tribe is sued.  Accordingly the tribal employer [...]

Consent After Dollar General

Last month the United States Supreme Court Court heard arguments in the tragic case titled Dollar General v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.  In that case a retailer locates a store on tribal land and consents to the tribe's rules until an employee of the store allegedly molests  a young trainee.  When the issue goes to tribal court the retailer argues that the court did not have the power (jurisdiction) to hear the case. [...]

How can the tribal casino actively minimize liability to employee claims?

Is the tribal casino employer playing litigation lottery or taking the steps necessary to minimize employment related claims?  Please consider trading in the “I hope we do not get sued” philosophy for a proactive strategy in minimizing employee workplace claims.  Some of the suggestions in this list may assist in reducing liability.  In addition to the reduction of legal liability to employee claims, many of these practices, if embraced, will enhance the employee experience [...]

How to minimize risk when immunity is challenged?

Sovereign immunity protects governments from lawsuits to which the government does not consent. Tribal governments, of course, possess immunity from lawsuits unless, according to the United States, the United States is the party presenting a claim against the tribal government. Individuals who serve tribal governments as tribal officials and employees are protected by the same immunity which protects the tribal government as long as the tribal official or employee are acting within the course [...]