Sovereign Immunity

News & Analysis as of

Supreme Court Affirms in Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community: Don’t Roll the Dice with Tribal Sovereign Immunity

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community is a reminder to a broad range of entities, including energy companies, financial service providers, and state and local governments, that...more

Tribal Immunity at the Supreme Court: Impact on Payday Lenders?

Could a recent Supreme Court decision on tribal sovereignty as it applied to an Indian casino have an impact on payday lenders? The case itself, Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community, involved a casino built by the...more

Argentina Ruling Doesn't Address Non-FSIA Discovery Limits

In its latest decision interpreting the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), the U.S. Supreme Court made clear that any claim of immunity by a foreign state must rise or fall based on the text of the FSIA. Because the...more

The King Can Do No Wrong. But Then Again …

At common law, municipalities were immune from liability in tort for the misfeasance of their officers and employees. This principle of “sovereign immunity” was often summed up by the phrase, “The King can do no wrong.”...more

Recent Supreme Court Decision Reaffirms Tribal Sovereign Immunity for Commercial Activities Conducted Off-Reservation

In 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that, absent a waiver or Congressional action to the contrary, the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity applies to lawsuits arising from a tribe’s commercial activities, even if they...more

NC Supreme Court Confirms Application of Sovereign Immunity for Local Governments

Wilson County was found to have immunity from negligence claims for a visitor’s injuries sustained while he exited the county administrative building according to the North Carolina Supreme Court in a June 12, 2014 opinion. ...more

U.S. Supreme Court Decisions Clarify Post-Judgment Remedies Against Foreign Sovereigns

On June 16, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two decisions in Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital, Ltd., one of the many cases to have arisen out of Argentina’s 2001 default on over $100 billion in sovereign bonds. While...more

Supreme Court Decides Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital, Ltd.

On June 16, 2014, the United States Supreme Court held that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) does not prevent a judgment creditor from conducting postjudgment discovery into a foreign sovereign's assets outside the...more

Supreme Court Holds that the FSIA Does Not Limit Post-Judgment Discovery

In its latest decision interpreting the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), the Supreme Court made clear that any claim of immunity by a foreign state must rise or fall based on the text of the FSIA. Because the FSIA...more

Recent Supreme Court Decision Bars State from Suing Tribe Seeking to Operate an Illegal Off-Reservation Casino

On May 27, 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), states may only sue to enjoin a tribe from conducting class III gaming “on Indian lands.” Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Cmty., 2014...more

U.S. Supreme Court Reaffirms the Doctrine of Tribal Sovereign Immunity in Bay Mills Decision

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision, highly anticipated by Indian tribes and Indian law practitioners, in Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community, et al. In a 5-4 split, the Court reaffirmed the doctrine of...more

Puerto Rico Tees Up GO Financing

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico continues its efforts to maintain fiscal and financial stability. This week, we expect the Commonwealth to move forward with an approximately US$3 billion General Obligation bond financing....more

Sixth Circuit Grants Stay in Lansing, Michigan, Off-Reservation Casino Case

In an order issued on February 24, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted a stay of its decision in State of Michigan v. The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (Sixth Circuit Case No....more

The Hualapai Grand Canyon Disputes Continue

The Hualapai (pronounced wah-lah-pie) Tribe has about 2,300 members, 1,300 of whom live on the Tribe’s northwest Arizona reservation. The enormous reservation borders the Colorado River and includes portions of the West Rim...more

California Appellate Court Holds State Regulators Lack Authority To Regulate Tribe-Affiliated Lenders

On January 21, the California Court of Appeal, Second District, held that short-term, small-dollar credit businesses owned by certain federally recognized Indian tribes are sufficiently related to their respective tribes to...more

Tribal Sovereign Immunity Blocks Payday Lending Enforcement Action, Calif. Appellate Court Rules

In a state enforcement action alleging violations of California’s lending law and seeking to enjoin continued lending to state residents, a California Court of Appeal has ruled that tribal sovereign immunity shielded the two...more

Tribal Sovereign Immunity Protects Payday Lenders From State Enforcement

Last year, the Commissioner of Business Oversight issued several alerts warning consumers that it has received complaints with respect to unlicensed firms offering payday (deferred deposit) loans in California. The common...more

Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law January 10, 2014

The Virginia Supreme Court issued new opinions this morning, some of which affect local government law. Here they are (summaries taken from the Virginia Supreme Court website, click on the Record Number to read opinion)...more

SDNY Retains Jurisdiction Over Three LIBOR Suits

On December 30, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York held that three LIBOR suits should remain under federal jurisdiction and denied the plaintiffs’ motions to remand. In Re LIBOR-Based Fin....more

Trade Dress, Sovereign Immunity, World Politics and R.60 Collide - Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. v. Islamic Republic of Iran,

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed the vacatur of final default judgment against the Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran) for alleged trade-dress infringement. The unanimous panel agreed with...more

Australia: new government may lead to opportunities for investor/state arbitration

This autumn, the people of Australia elected a new federal government, presenting a number of potential opportunities for investor-state arbitration in Australia. First, the new government has reviewed its position...more

Native American Tribes Immune From Patent Infringement Suits

In the near future, Native American tribal organizations might consider expanding operations in many technological areas in view of recent court decisions indicating that tribes enjoy sovereign immunity from patent...more

Ninth Circuit Clarifies Scope of Commercial Activity Exception to Sovereign Immunity

On December 6, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, issued its decision in Sachs v. Republic of Austria, a case presenting important questions concerning the types of commercial activities...more

Asserting a Tribal Sovereign Immunity Defense, Even Where the Tribe has Contractually Waived its Immunity

The doctrine of sovereign immunity acts as a powerful protection for any sovereign entity. By prohibiting the courts from adjudicating whether or not the sovereign party breached a contract, committed a tort, or otherwise...more

State Primacy in Coal Mining Regulations Challenged: Environmental Group Seeks Federal Court Jurisdiction

State sovereignty over the regulation of coal mining is again under attack by anti-industry groups. In Montana Environmental Information Center, et al. v. Stone-Manning, et al., Appeal No. 13-35107 (Ninth Circuit Court of...more

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