Justia Native American Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Banking
Great Plains Lending, LLC v. Department of Banking
The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the trial court sustaining Plaintiffs' administrative appeal and remanding this case to the Commissioner of Banking for further proceedings as to Plaintiffs' entitlement to tribal sovereign immunity in administrative proceedings, holding that the trial court erred in part.At issue was whether a business entity shared sovereign immunity with Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians, a federally-recognized tribe. On appeal, Plaintiffs - Clear Creek Lending, Great Plains Lending, LLC, and John Shotton, chairman of the Tribe - claimed that the trial court improperly allocated the burden of proving entitlement to tribal sovereign immunity to Plaintiffs, improperly required proof of a functioning relationship between the entities and the tribe, and improperly failed to find Shotton immune in further administrative proceedings. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) the entity claiming arm of the tribe status bears the burden of proving its entitlement to that status; (2) Great Plains was an arm of the tribe and Shotton was entitled to tribal sovereign immunity but not injunctive relief; and (3) there was insufficient evidence that Clear Creek was an arm of the tribe as a matter of law. View "Great Plains Lending, LLC v. Department of Banking" on Justia Law
Goldenstein v. Repossessors Inc.
Goldenstein, obtained a $1,000 online loan from a company owned by Chippewa Indians, incorporated under Chippewa tribal law, and authorized to issue loans secured by vehicles at interest rates greater than permitted under Pennsylvania law. Goldenstein pledged his car and was charged 250 percent interest. The company, after deducting a $50 transfer fee and wiring $950 to Goldenstein, withdrew installments of $207.90 from Goldenstein’s bank account in June and July. Goldenstein removed funds from the account because he did not recognize the activity on his bank statements. When the company attempted to collect the August installment, it was rejected for insufficient funds. Repossessors took Goldenstein’s car. Goldenstein was told that his payment would not be accepted, nor his car returned unless he signed releases. Goldenstein paid $2,393 ($2,143 for the loan and $250 in repossession fees), signed the releases, then filed suit, claiming violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692–1692p; Pennsylvania’s Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act and Uniform Commercial Code; and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. 1962(c). The Third Circuit vacated summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the RICO and state law claims, but affirmed as to the FDCPA claim. Forfeiture of collateral can amount to “collection of unlawful debt” under RICO, but defendants had a right to possession and did not violate the FDCPA by repossessing the car. View "Goldenstein v. Repossessors Inc." on Justia Law
Healy Lake Village v. Mt. McKinley Bank
Members of Healy Lake Village Tribe who claimed to constitute the newly elected tribal council brought suit in superior court against Mt. McKinley Bank after the Bank refused to change the signatory authority on the Tribe’s accounts to reflect the alleged leadership change. A second group of tribal members, who also claimed to represent the Tribe based on a competing election, was granted intervention in order to contest the superior court’s jurisdiction. The superior court determined that the fundamental issue in the case was the determination of the legitimate governing body of the Tribe, which was an internal self-governance matter within the Tribe’s retained inherent sovereignty. The superior court dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and the group that brought the initial action appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court. Because determining the real party in interest would have required the superior court to decide matters solely within the Tribe’s retained inherent sovereignty, the Supreme Court affirmed the superior court’s dismissal of the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "Healy Lake Village v. Mt. McKinley Bank" on Justia Law