• July 10, 2013
"A Tough Knot to Crack" (photo by Jay Fanelli)

“A Tough Knot to Crack” (photo by Jay Fanelli)

Update (July 10, 2013):  The Minnesota Supreme Court granted review of the on-going legal struggle between the Band and the City.  St. Louis County District Court Judge David M. Johnson ruled that the district court had no jurisdiction and that the dispute was not yet “ripe.”  The Minnesota Court of Appeals saw things somewhat differently or, really, completely differently.  And now the Minnesota Supreme Court will try to disentangle complex interlocking contractual agreements (1986 commission agreement, “1994 agreements”) and legal doctrines (sovereign immunity, ripeness).

There are millions of dollars to struggle over in what is obviously a lucrative business and the fight has been going on for some years now.

Original post (April 21, 2010):  (Under subject line: Duluth v. Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa: Summary Judgment For Duluth)

In a longstanding dispute regarding a claim by the city of Duluth against the Band based on the Fon du Luth Casino in downtown Duluth, a significant win for the City of Duluth today, with summary judgment from U.S. District Court Judge Ann Montgomery (D. Minn.).  (Summary judgment was “in part” because the city did not win summary judgment on damages (which the city conceded in briefing on the motion)).

On August 6, 2009, the Band sent the City a letter and a resolution that had been passed by the Band’s Business Committee, announcing that the Band was ceasing all payments to the City under Agreements hammered about between the Band and the city in 1994 (as a result of litigation that had been brought by the Band and had been settled before U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson (D. Minn.) who retained jurisdiction thereafter).  The Band asserted the City has no legally assertable proprietary interest in the Fond du Luth Casino, the parties’ agreements were premised on the erroneous assumption that the City’s approval in 1986 of the creation of the reservation had legal effect, and the City has received more than $80 million under the arrangement but has provided no valuable consideration in return.

For civil procedure junkies, the opinion discusses whether a consent decree constitutes a final judgment for purposes of res judicata (yes) and, as a bonus, relief from judgment under Rule 60(b) or rule 60(d) of the federal rules of civil procedure (to which the Court held the Band was not entitled).

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