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Supreme Court situation could expose Indian tribes to new risks that are legal

Professor of Law & Director associated with native Law & Policy Center, Michigan State University

Disclosure statement

Matthew L.M. Fletcher works for eight Indian tribes being a judge that is appellateGrand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Hoopa Valley Tribe, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Nottawaseppi Huron Band for the Potawatomi, Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, and Santee Sioux Tribe). He could be associated with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians being an enrolled user.


Michigan State University provides money as a founding partner regarding the Conversation US.

Accidents happen. And often those accidents include the workers of Indian tribes. The Supreme Court is planned to know a full situation which will rule regarding the the restrictions of appropriate resistance of tribes and their staff. Though it relates to a slim concern in an injury lawsuit, the actual situation could expose Indian tribes to unforeseen – and significant – liability in state and federal courts to which tribes are strangers.

In Lewis v. Clarke, the Supreme Court will address whether a tribal casino worker – in this instance, a limo driver – may be sued for an accident that took place as the worker ended up being regarding the clock but outside of Indian lands.

As a scholar, i’ve examined the complexities of tribal immunity that is sovereign tribal government-owned organizations therefore the unique challenges Indian tribes face in federal and state courts. My research leads me to think the end result for the situation is essential as it could set a precedent that will damage tribes’ ability to govern.

The back ground

In belated 2011, a Mohegan Sun Casino limousine driver rear-ended Brian and Michelle Lewis’ car on I-95 near Norwalk, Connecticut, hurting the couple into the collision.