Ninth Circuit extended tribal immunity to commercial activities

On November 14, 2008, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that tribal sovereign immunity applies to lawsuits brought in federal court concerning the profit-making businesses of Native American tribes. In Cook v. Avi Casino Enterprises, Christopher Cook filed suit against the tribal corporation on the Fort Mojave reservation in Nevada after he was hit by a drunk driver leaving the casino. The court stated that tribal sovereign immunity applies to both commercial and governmental activities, and also protects tribal employees acting in an official capacity. Cook's petition for a writ of certiorari from the US Supreme Court was denied on May 4, 2009.

Learn more about Native American tribes and sovereign immunity from the JURIST news archive.

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