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Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land & Cattle

Docket No.: 07-411
Certiorari Granted: Jan 4 2008
Argued: April 14, 2008
Decided: June 25, 2008

PartyNames: Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land and Cattle Company, Inc., et al.
Petitioner: Plains Commerce Bank
Respondent: Long Family Land & Cattle

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Plains Commerce Bank
Long Family Land & Cattle
554 U.S. ____ (2008)

Indian tribal courts inherently lack jurisdiction to hear claims between members and nonmembers. In Montana v. U.S., 450 U.S. 544, 565 (1981), this Court identified two narrow exceptions. The first relates to regulation of nonmembers who enter into consensual relationships with the tribe or its members. The second relates to civil authority concerning activity that directly affects the tribe's political integrity, economic security, health, or welfare. This Court, however, has never upheld tribalcourt, civil-adjudicatory jurisdiction over a nonmember defendant under the first Montana exception, and expressly left this question open in Nevada v. Hicks, 533 U.S. 353, 360 (2001).

Question Presented:

The question presented is: Whether Indian tribal courts have subject-matter jurisdiction to adjudicate civil tort claims as an "other means" of regulating the conduct of a nonmember bank owning fee-land on a reservation that entered into a private commercial agreement with a member-owned corporation? 1 1Petitioner made two additional arguments to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that it is explicitly not asking this Court to review. Namely, that tribal courts lack jurisdiction to adjudicate claims based on federal law and that the tribal court's judgment should be denied comity because the Bank was denied due process.


Under the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions in Montana v. U.S. _ and _Nevada v. Hicks, do tribal courts have jurisdiction to hear claims based on civil suits against non-members who voluntarily did business with members?



Holding: judgment reversed
Vote: 5-4
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