Trial court denies motion, state supreme court reverses, and U.S. Supreme Court reverses it back.
Supreme Court rejects tribal employee’s sovereign immunity defense in Lewis v. Clarke. Under tribal law, Clarke was entitled to indemnification from the tribe for any damages assessed against him arising out of the performance of his duties. The trial court denied Clarke’s motion to dismiss on sovereign immunity grounds but the Connecticut Supreme Court reversed, holding that Clarke shared the Tribe’s sovereign immunity for acts within the scope of his duties and that the plaintiffs could not circumvent tribal sovereign immunity by suing Clarke individually…and then the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Connecticut Supreme Court, holding that Clarke was not protected by the Tribe’s sovereign immunity.
Brian Pierson is a shareholder with Godfrey & Kahn, S.C. As leader of the firm's Indian Nations team, his primary objective is to draw on the knowledge and experience of Godfrey & Kahn's attorneys to assist tribes in formulating and implementing strategies that strengthen tribal sovereignty, with a particular focus on business development, environmental protection, renewable energy and housing development. Mr. Pierson frequently advises tribes on tribal constitutional, ordinance and governance matters. He has extensive experience representing developers, lenders and others who partner with tribes to pursue Indian country business opportunities.
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