Literally land of the “Red People” in the Choctaw language, Oklahoma is home to 33 federally-recognized Indian Tribes, with nearly half a million Oklahomans identifying themselves as Native American. Oklahoma’s tribes are at the forefront tribal economic development initiatives, ranging from tribal construction companies to companies supplying our armed forces. Tribal gaming operations at more than 100 casino properties generated revenue of $3.23 billion in 2010, ranking Oklahoma second nationally. As tribal business operations expand they interact more frequently with non-tribal businesses, and when disputes arise, the vagaries of tribal courts and sovereign immunity can make dispute resolution chaotic, protracted and unpredictable.
Our Experience Includes:
- Defended the Gaming Commission of an Indian Tribe against an IRS audit and a federal corruption investigation; no tax penalties were assessed and no charges were brought.
- Defended the Gaming Commission of an Indian Tribe against a series of lawsuits alleging wrongful termination of casino employees and wrongful denials of gaming licenses to existing and prospective employees.
- Brought claims on behalf of a Nevada gaming vendor in arbitration and in state and federal court alleging breach of contract; judgment entered for the vendor on all claims.
- Defended a state social worker in an Oklahoma tribal court against claims of professional negligence arising out of an Indian child custody dispute; all claims were dismissed.
- Brought claims on behalf of a construction company in state court against an Indian Tribe for breach of contract and a range of business torts arising out of a failed joint venture.
- Brought claims in arbitration against an Indian Tribe on behalf of a Nevada gaming vendor alleging breach of contract for the lease of gaming equipment; the vendor’s equipment was successfully returned.
- Negotiated contracts on behalf of a foreign corporation for development of natural resources controlled by indigenous tribes in Southeast Asia.
- Brought claims in state court on behalf of a multinational leasing company against an Indian Tribe for breach of equipment lease agreements.
- Defended an exploration and production company in a federal lawsuit brought by an Indian Tribe claiming personal injury, surface and subsurface damages arising out of historical production activities.