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MN Supreme Court Judge R. A. Randall: Opinions

Judge R. A. (Jim) Randall, Minnesota Supreme Court in: Sylvia Cohen vs. Little Six


Sylvia Cohen argues an Indian gaming casino is subject to the jurisdiction of Minnesota state courts, and the trial court erred or violated her due process rights by dismissing her personal injury suit against Mystic Lake Casino.

DECISION: First, LSI may assert the tribe's sovereign immunity. Second, no federal statute authorizes state jurisdiction over this case and state court jurisdiction would infringe on tribal self-governance. And third, by dismissing this action for want of jurisdiction, the trial court did not violate Cohen's right to due process.

DISSENT from Judge Jim Randall: "Actually, there was no writing of treaties with Indian tribes after 1871, when the entire ridiculous pretense that tribes were sovereignties was abolished. It would be pleasant to be able to report that the change was made because common sense prevailed, but such was not the case."

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Judge R. A. (Jim) Randall, Minnesota Supreme Court in: Granite Valley vs. Jackpot Junction

Hotel sought damages from tribal casino for breach of contract to guarantee occupancy. Casino moved to dismiss on grounds of sovereign immunity, invalid consent to jurisdiction, and doctrine of comity. Hotel moved for declaration of jurisdiction. The District Court, Redwood County, David W. Peterson, J., declared that it had jurisdiction and that casino's owner, the Lower Sioux Indian Community, had waived immunity. Casino appealed. The Court of Appeals, Thomas G. Forsberg, Acting J., held that district court's retention of jurisdiction to determine effectiveness of explicit contractual waiver of sovereign immunity and consent to state jurisdiction did not interfere with tribal self-government. Affirmed.

Randall, J., filed specially concurring opinion. View the PDF

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