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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Local firm to argue U.S. Supreme Court case

Local law firm Lindquist & Vennum is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court to argue an interesting case involving tribal court jurisdiction.

In a petition filed by Minneapolis attorney Paul Banker (right), the Minneapolis firm argues that the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to adjudicate a civil tort claim between a corporation owned by the tribe and a nontribal bank. The bank is asking the high court to reverse the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land & Cattle Company Inc. In that case, the 8th Circuit held that the tribal court has subject-matter jurisdiction over the corporation’s claims against the bank because of inherent tribal authority to regulate nonmembers’ activities arising out of consensual relationships with tribal members.

The underlying claims arise out of loan and a lease agreement between the parties. The bank sought to evict the corporation from the property in order to sell it. The corporation countered with a suit both to stop the sale, and alleging breach of contract and discrimination. The tribal court jury awarded the plaintiffs $750K plus interest.

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