After more than three years, the Mohegan tribe didn't risk losing a sovereignty case in the Connecticut Supreme Court.
Attorneys for the Mohegan Tribe and a Waterford teenager seriously injured in 2007 when she was hit by an SUV whose driver had been drinking at a Mohegan Sun bar reached a court settlement Monday, the day before an aspect of the case was to be argued before the state Supreme Court.
The parties agreed to keep the amount of the settlement confidential, Robert Reardon Jr., the New London attorney for the victim, Emily Vanstaen-Holland, and her mother, Susan Holland, said.
Reardon was expected to argue today that the tribe is subject to the state's Dram Shop Act, the law that allows victims in drunken-driving accidents to sue the establishment that served the drunken driver.
Reardon had appealed New London Superior Court Judge Robert Martin's February 2009 dismissal of his clients' claims against the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority and Mohegan tribal officials and employees, including Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum, chairman of the tribal council; Mitchell Etess, the authority's chief executive officer; and Gary Crowder, Mohegan Sun's senior vice president of resort operations.
According to Reardon, a hearing on the tribe's claim of sovereign immunity from dram shop and reckless-service-of-alcohol counts might have yielded a significant state Supreme Court decision.
He said he would have argued that Indian tribes have never been granted sovereignty in regard to the possession and dispensing of alcohol. Not until 1953, he said, did federal law allow tribes to possess alcohol on reservation lands and then only in conformity with applicable state law.