Monday, December 19, 2011

Press Release: Morongo Tribe Loses Lawsuit by Default UPDATED

Most likely, they feel they don't have to defend themselves in court. I'm sure they feel they can harrass any employee they want without fear of suit in state court.

Press Release:

On December 12th 2011 the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Riverside declared the Morongo Band of Mission Indians (Morongo Casino Resort and Spa) in default in a suite filed against them by six former employees. The case was originally filed in July of 2011 and named the Morongo Band of Mission Indians (Morongo Casino Resort and Spa) along with the Morongo Gaming Commissioner Jerry Schultze and five other current employees.

The suite claims that Morongo Casino employees committed or allowed acts of discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination among the list of charges. Some of these complaints were brought to the attention of Casino Management and the Morongo Tribal Council as early as 2003. Each of the six plaintiffs was terminated between 2010 and 2011. All of the plaintiffs had been employed for at lease three years and some as many as 10 to18 years. Several were considered model employees and consistently recognized by Casino Management for their achievements. The plaintiffs claim they attempted to bring these discrimination and harassment issues to the attention of the Tribal Council and Casino Management on a multitude of occasions but were ignored or rebuffed and consequently singled out for further harassment and ultimately terminated.

The financial damages awarded to the plaintiffs could be in the range of $5,000,000 or more and the potential ramification for the Morongo Casino and Morongo Tribal Members could be even greater.

For additional information or comments contact:

For the plaintiffs:

Law Offices of Gloria Dredd Haney

333 City Boulevard West 17th Floor

Orange California 92868-2903

Office 714-938-3230

For the defendants:

George Forman
Attorneys at Law
4340 Redwood Highway, Suite E352
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 491-2310

UPDATE: MORE ON THE LAWSUIT from Coyote who writes at: The Indian Runner which focuses on the Morongo Tribe.

Most of the individuals who brought this suite had extensive experience in law enforcement and security and were in fact considered professionals and model employees, achieving awards for their exemplary service to our Casino. Some of the work they did in training and management is still in use today, and one can still be seen in videos used for training our Security Officers. All of these people were loyal to Morongo and some worked for the Casino for as much as 10 to 18 years until their termination.

Casino Management, some Tribal Council Members and a few Tribal Members would like to describe these individuals as disgruntle employees with a history of poor behavior, we believe the facts show this is simply not true. Others would demonize them for resorting to legal measures to get publicity and are only out for the money, this we also believe is not true. If one could look into their employee records and talk to their fellow employees without the possibility of retaliation it would be discovered that they were well liked and at one time would have enjoyed returning to the Casino as employees, if changes in policy and Casino Management were implemented.

This will never happen because Council refuses to acknowledge these issues and supports the real problem employees who caused these issues in the first place. They remain in our employ and continue to spoil the work environment like a cancer festering and spreading their poison to every part of our enterprise.

Council defiantly and arrogantly supported the false belief that our Tribal Sovereignty would protect us from all legal entanglements, ideas supported by George Forman’s unfortunate and incompetent council


Anonymous said...

The plantiffs would be smart to actually take this to the casino's insurance policy holders for payment. I am not 100% sure, but I think they will have some liablilty to pay these claims as they are regulated by the state. Even though the tribe is protected from payment, the insurance may have some form of compliance. This would be interesting to see how the lawyers address this as I assume that is the next step they will take for this case. It will probably be another court decision though.

smokeybear said...

Good, a Tribe that actually got "Caught!" But you got to know that the real issue: "Sovereignty, an how this is going to "Play Out." You know the "Game?" Court case...Appeal, and on an on. "Stupid is, as Stupid does, but if they refuse to pay:...Whose going to make them?. The "Snoqualme 9" won their court case but they're outside looking in. Get the picture?

Anonymous said...

The clerk enters a default in favor of these employee's ,what will happen next is the tribe will ask the court to dismiss the default entry because a tribe cannot be sued.

The court will dismiss the default win.(Thats if these employee's are non tribal members).

Coyote said...

If Morongo's Lawers can come up with sufficient cause to have the default set aside the case will then go to trial in Feb 2012. Grounds for dismissal of the default are weak and Sovereignty will not be sufficient. The Morongo Compact allows for non member employees to sue the Tribe regardless of Sovereignty where sufficient damage can be validated. The Federal Government has already acknowledged the validity of the employees case. There is little doubt Insurance will make the payoff when the amount is determined. Should the Tribe refuse to pay then an injunction could be levied upon the Casino and it could be shut down. There is no way the Morongo people will let that happen. Many of the latest Compacts that were signed in the few years allow tribes to be sued under certain circumstances. Tribes will no longer be able to hide behind Sovereignty. It is becoming a thing of the past, employees rights trump Sovereignty. If you don't believe go read your Compact.

William Mark Felt 3rd said...

Well put Coyote,
Morongo in 2008 signed an amendment to their original 1999 compact with the State of California. That amendment states several times that Morongo 'Waived it right to assert Sovereign Immunity' when it comes to Federal and State labor laws. A small little site was put up that explains a lot as to how this happened.

smokeybear said...

Oh, I ...."So Like it!" You mean to tell me "Morongo" is actually on the "Hook" for these "Indescresions?" And "Sovereignty" doesn't "Trump?" So does this mean both Indian and Non-Indian's alike? But only with "Labor Laws?" I really don't realize why an "Indian Tribe" would sign some sort of "Compact" to give up their "Sovereignty Rights" for any reason. That is their "License to Steal!"

Question: Was this supposed "Compact" put in place before they, (Morongo), could build the "Casino", or before it "Expanded?" But, then again, we'll still have to hide and watch how long of an "Ordeal" the aggrieved will have to go through, because time is on "Morongo's" side...."Appeal, Appeal......For they have nothing but: "TIME!"

Anonymous said...

WHAT CASE WAS THAT ? (failure to state a claim).

WHAT BONEHEAD TRIBE would waive their Sovereign Immunity' ?

(Grounds for dismissal of the default are weak)

Pechanga had 3 dismissed ? So what are you talking about(weak) Coyote and lawyer <-----lawer

P.S I would love to see a state Judge come onto Federal land and try to shut down a casino,haha

The State, DID NOT WANT anything to do with the CITY of Temecula's law suit against Pechanga?

William Mark Felt 3rd said...

Case # is RIC1112191
I have done extensive research into this case. Unless you follow the letter of the law you will have the case dismissed before going into court. First you need to get permission from the Federal Government and receive a rite to sue letter. All 6 of these employees did that. Then you need to find a knowledgeable lawyer, again that was done. Then the research begins starting with the original compact signed in 1999, then the 2008 amendment. This is where Morongo gave up some of their Sovereign Immunity in exchange for more machines and the potential for more money. Public Law 280 is also a major hurdle to overcome then of course past court cases such as the case involving San Manuel that was ruled on 02/09/07 that stated since the casino,hotel and other enterprises were ran by a majority of non-indians, they were under the state and federal labor laws. This was decided by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the court directly below the Supreme Court of the United States, as of yet San Manuel has not challenged the ruling. Also the Thunder Valley Casino in Northern California were several ex female employees sued for discrimination, harassment, rape etc. This case was settled out of court to avoid any further bad press.
All of this can be researched on the internet just like I did. I did not just take for granted everything that was told to me, neither should you. The most important thing here to remember is this case is historical in the fact that this was the first time it has been successfully done. It may also leave other tribes open to litigation against them.

Anonymous said...

(Federal Government and receive a rite to sue letter), Hmm so if you get one of these letter's Mark from Federal court, you can sue a tribe?

Well thanks for the help Mark william Felt

(historical in the fact that this was the first time it has been successfully done) Hmm!

Great Mark ! What was the Judges name That ruled in your favor ?

Where can we read this?

Anonymous said...

There have been countless posting on Coyote’s Blog referring to these issues and the Law (Suite) brought about by Former Employees.

Law suite ? This is from the Indian Runner Blog ?

Is this article a Joke?

Anonymous said...

Wow - thank you for all of the information. I assume since Federal Labor Laws are what have been broken (sexual harassment and discrimination), these then would fall under the courts to decide damages. This suit will not be taken lightly, as Labor Laws are taken very seriously due to historic precedence and prejusdices. Good Luck to the attorneys and the plantiffs.

William Mark Felt 3rd said...

I believe the case file listed Gloria Grover-Trask as the judge that was going to preside over the first court date that was scheduled for 02/03/2012. And I never said I was one of the 6 ex- employees. I just said I have done extensive resource and talk with the members of that lawsuit. Getting a rite to sue letter is only the first step as I have said, but it is needed to get into court.

stand your ground said...

Good play by play William, it actually makes sense when you read this, unlike some others who continually blast everything out of proportions and make no sense.
It will be interesting to see the ending on this.
Good luck to all...

Anonymous said...

maybe the tribal chairman is trying to keep up with his son's sleasy treatment of the mother of his grandchildren!! now that is a story you could write.

James Bond said...

William your information is very good. What do think will happen to the individuals in the lawsuit who failed to do their job?

Anonymous said...

Pechanga terminates for spite all the time.
They also have people arrested illegally.
Because they hired a JUDGE as their so called "Ethics Director" he pulls strings all over Riverside county
The Government allows it because of their deep pockets and political contributions

Anonymous said...

Morongo is a joke. I worked there for about a month and 1/2, and they treat their employees like crap. They arent loyal to any employees unless you are friends with or related to a tribal member, and in that case you can get away with murder. They hire and fire so many people, you never know if your gonna see the same people at work the next day. If you are a friend of a tribal member expect to be promoted to a position that you have no qualifications to do, but if not, better start looking for another job.

Anonymous said...

Fvckin morongo, and their security people! Give them authority and they'll go far with it! I barely started and I got terminated for parking on the wrong spot (overflow parking) I didn't even just get a warning, right on that day I got terminated. Didn't even give me a chance for it. In addition to that, if you wanna work for morongo, specifically in housekeeping dept. THINK TWICE!! Supervisors are nasty! You couldn't even go on your lunch break 'cause right when you try to go, they radio you and make you do a run, respond to a request even if it wasn't your assigned floor for the day. Not worth it for a $9.50/hr. job!