State of New York v. Shinnecock Indian Nation

In 2003, the Shinnecock Indian Nation entered began construction of a 61,000-square-foot casino on 80 acres in Southampton, New York. The Tribe did not obtain permits from the state or the town, but began bulldozing trees and brush. The state sued in state court, alleging that the planned casino violates state law, and is outside the scope of the IGRA (a federal act authorizing tribal gaming under certain conditions) because the Tribe is not federally recognized and the site is not “Indian lands” and that construction would violate state environmental laws. The Shinnecock removed the case to federal court on the basis that the complaint pleaded issues of federal law. The State moved to remand the action to state court, arguing that its complaint is based entirely on violations of New York state law, that removal was based on the complaint’s anticipation of defenses, and that the its reference to the IGRA asserts only that the IGRA does not apply. The district court denied remand, conducted a bench trial, and granted a permanent injunction prohibiting the Shinnecock from building a casino without complying with state and local law. The Second Circuit vacated, holding that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. View "State of New York v. Shinnecock Indian Nation" on Justia Law