Thursday, May 13, 2010

Crack in Sovereignty Dam II: Red Hawk Casino Suit to be Heard in STATE Court

A lawsuit filed three years ago against the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians seeking more than $100 million got a court date in El Dorado County Superior Court.

The tribe owns Red Hawk Casino, which it built two years ago with the help of partner Lakes Entertainment Inc. The suit was brought by an earlier development partner, Sharp Image Gaming Inc., which claims an existing exclusive right to offer gaming with the tribe dating back to the late 1990s.

The tribe’s attorneys had tried to get the court to change the venue to Los Angeles, but the transfer was denied Monday by El Dorado Superior Court Judge Patrick Riley

The trial date was set for Nov. 1 in El Dorado Superior Court for the suit brought three years ago by Sharp Image. Over the past three years, the tribe has appealed the venue of a state court and sought a federal court. The tribe also has fought to have the case dismissed outright based on tribal sovereignty. The appeals made it up the to the California Supreme Court, which ruled in March the trial had a right to be heard and that the venue was in a state court.
Since Sharp Image filed its suit in May 2007, the tribe’s attorneys have sought to have the suit dismissed on the grounds that the company had no standing to sue a sovereign Native American nation, maintaining that the suit should have been filed in federal court.

That plea was denied by an El Dorado County judge in January 2008. The tribe appealed and was denied, again.

In January, it lost yet another appeal in the Third District Court of Appeals, so it took its case to the California Supreme Court. In March, the state’s high court denied the tribe’s petition for review.
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