The State of New Mexico sued the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) to challenge its authority to promulgate the regulations found at 25 C.F.R. 291 et seq. (“Part 291”). The challenged regulations concerned the process under which Indian tribes and states negotiate compacts to allow gaming on Indian lands. Congress established in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (“IGRA”). The Supreme Court would later decide, however, Congress lacked the authority to make states subject to suit by Indian tribes in federal court. However, the Court left intact the bulk of IGRA, and Congress has not amended it in the intervening years. As relevant here, the Part 291 process was implicated after the Pueblo of Pojoaque tribe sued New Mexico under IGRA and the State asserted sovereign immunity. Following the dismissal of the case on sovereign-immunity grounds, the Pojoaque asked the Secretary to prescribe gaming procedures pursuant to Part 291. Before the Secretary did so, New Mexico filed the underlying suit, seeking a declaration that the Part 291 regulations were not a valid exercise of the Secretary’s authority. The Pojoaque intervened. The district court granted New Mexico’s motion for summary judgment and denied that of DOI, holding that the Part 291 regulations were invalid and barred the Secretary from taking any further action on the Pojoaque’s request for the issuance of gaming procedures under them. DOI and the Pojoaque appealed that order, challenging the State’s standing, the ripeness of the dispute, and the district court’s holding that Part 291 was an invalid exercise of the Secretary’s authority. Finding no reversible error, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court. View "New Mexico v. Dept. of the Interior" on Justia Law
The State of Oklahoma filed suit against defendants, officials of the Kialegee Tribal Town claiming that they, along with a federally-chartered corporation related to the tribe and a related Oklahoma limited liability company, were attempting to construct and ultimately operate a class III gaming facility on non-Indian lands in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, in violation of both IGRA and a state-tribal gaming compact. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, but the district court denied the motion. The district court subsequently granted a preliminary injunction in favor of the State that prohibited defendants from constructing or operating the gaming facility on the property at issue. Defendants appealed. The Tenth Circuit concluded the State failed to state a valid claim for relief. View "Oklahoma v. Hobia" on Justia Law
Plaintiff Kansas Penn Gaming, LLC (KPG), a limited liability corporation formed by Penn National Gaming, Inc. (Penn National), entered into a real estate sale contract with HV Properties of Kansas, LLC (HV), pursuant to which KPG purchased from HV parcels of land in southeast Kansas for $2.5 million for the purpose of seeking to develop a lottery gaming facility on the land. KPG ultimately chose not to develop a lottery gaming facility on the land. HV thus did not receive $37.5 million of payments that it had hoped to receive from KPG under the contract. KPG filed suit seeking a declaratory judgment that it did not breach the terms of the contract. HV filed a counterclaim alleging that KPG breached the terms of the contract. HV also filed a separate action against Penn National alleging breach of Penn National’s obligation as guarantor to make the payments due under the contract between KPG and HV. The district court consolidated the two cases and granted summary judgment in favor of KPG and Penn National. Following the entry of judgment, the district court awarded attorneys' fees and expenses to KPG and Penn National. HV appealed these rulings. Upon review of the trial court record and the applicable legal authority, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court's order.
The issue before the Tenth Circuit in this case pertained to a "class-of-one" equal protection lawsuit against a county government based on its demand that a property owner correct a nuisance. Kansas Penn Gaming, LLC alleged that after it and Cherokee County became involved in litigation concerning a casino development agreement, the County health department targeted Kansas Penn for a regulatory enforcement action. In particular, the County sent Kansas Penn a notice stating that the unkempt condition of its property violated state and local nuisance laws and regulations and warning that failure to clean up the property would lead to an enforcement action. Although the County never brought an enforcement action against Kansas Penn, Kansas Penn sued the County and some of its officials under 42 U.S.C. 1983. In its complaint, Kansas Penn alleged the notice of nuisance violated its right to equal protection by arbitrarily and maliciously singling it out for selective enforcement. Because the Tenth Circuit agreed with the district court that Kansas Penn failed to state a claim for relief under the standard set forth by "Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly," the Court affirmed dismissal of the complaint.
Posted in: Business Law, Civil Rights, Gaming Law, Government & Administrative Law, U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals