HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveNewslettersVolume 20Issue 34Parties Agree to Dismiss Claims in Lansing Casino Lawsuit

On December 3, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan agreed to dismiss four claims made by the State of Michigan in its lawsuit against the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (“Tribe”) over its proposed casino development in Lansing. The parties jointly sought the dismissal of certain claims following the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on the matter, which held that the State was precluded from bringing certain claims against the Tribe, in part, because of the Tribe’s sovereign immunity and that the claims were not ripe for adjudication.

At issue in the litigation is whether the Tribe can apply to have certain parcels of property in Lansing taken into trust by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior before it obtains written revenue sharing agreements with the other federally recognized Indian Tribes in Michigan pursuant to Section 9 of the Tribe’s Tribal-State Gaming Compact with the State of Michigan. Having this land taken into trust is one of the required steps that a Native American tribe must take in order to open a casino pursuant to the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The District Court initially granted an injunction in favor of the State that prevented the Tribe from moving forward with plans for a Lansing-based casino. The Sixth Circuit, however, subsequently overturned this injunction but issued a stay on the proceedings until the State had a chance to apply for certiorari with the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court did not grant certiorari in the case, dismissing the request on June 5, 2014 per request of the parties to the suit due to the Supreme Court’s recent precedent in Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Communitywhich affected the claims of the current lawsuit.

According to the December 3 Order, the State has until February 2, 2015 to file an amended complaint in the lawsuit and the Tribe and its governmental officials will have 45 days from filing of the complaint to file its response or to move to dismiss the case. Each party will also be afforded opportunities to respond to the complaint and the subsequent responses.


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