Justia Native American Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Injury Law
Furry v. Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
Plaintiff-Appellant John Furry, as personal representative of the estate of his daughter Tatiana Furry, appealed a district court’s order granting the Miccosukee Tribe’s motion to dismiss his complaint. He complained that the Miccosukee Tribe violated 18 U.S.C. 1161 and Florida’s dram shop law by knowingly serving excessive amounts of alcohol to his daughter, who then got in her car, drove off while intoxicated, and ended up in a fatal head-on collision with another vehicle on a highway just outside Miami. The Miccosukee Tribe moved to dismiss the complaint on the jurisdictional ground that it was immune from suit under the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity. In its order granting the tribe's motion to dismiss, the district court determined that tribal sovereign immunity barred it from entertaining the suit. Upon review, the Eleventh Circuit agreed: "The Supreme Court has made clear that a suit against an Indian tribe is barred unless the tribe has clearly waived its immunity or Congress has expressly and unequivocally abrogated that immunity. [Plaintiff argued] that both of these exceptions have been met here, but these arguments are ultimately without merit." View "Furry v. Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida" on Justia Law
K2 America Corp. v. Roland Oil & Gas. LLC
Plaintiff appealed the dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction of its action against defendant, alleging tort, contract, and state statutory claims and seeking, among other remedies, a constructive trust and declaratory judgment over an oil and gas lease located on allotted land, wherein title to the land was held by the United States in trust for various Indian allottees. At issue was whether the district court had federal jurisdiction. The court held that 28 U.S.C. 1360(b), 28 U.S.C. 1331, and 25 U.S.C. 345 did not grant federal jurisdiction and therefore, plaintiff presented no basis for concluding that the action was within the "limited jurisdiction" of federal courts. Accordingly, the district court properly dismissed the suit based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction and the court did not need to reach any other issues raised by the parties, including exhaustion of tribal remedies. The court noted, however, that its holding did not preclude plaintiff from seeking relief in Blackfeet Tribal Court. View "K2 America Corp. v. Roland Oil & Gas. LLC" on Justia Law
Blatchford v. Alaska Native Tribal Health Co.
Plaintiff sued defendant seeking a declaratory judgment to the effect that defendant's liens were not valid, in whole or in part, where plaintiff received a substantial settlement from her insurer when she suffered serious injuries in a car accident and received extensive health care services from defendant. At issue was whether the district court properly granted summary judgment to defendant because it had a right to recover the money spent on plaintiff's medical care under 25 U.S.C. 1621e. The court reversed and held that section 1621e, which allowed healthcare providers to recover expenses from third-party tortfeasors, relevant insureres, or other third parties, did not apply to the action where defendant sought to enforce a right of recovery against plaintiff to whom it provided services.