White Paper

4 Pages
  • 4 Pages

What the Supreme Court’s Cougar Den Decision Means


The Cougar Den was facing a bill of $3.6 million.

In a recent court case, Washington State Department of Licensing v. Cougar Den, Inc., the Washington Department of Licensing desired to assign Cougar Den $3.6 million in unpaid taxes, penalties and licensing fees. This amount came about due to a state statute which requires taxing persons who import motor fuel into the state using ground transportation. The Washington Supreme Court struck down the statute, as applied to Cougar Den. This white paper reviews this case and what lessons were learned from the Supreme Court’s decision.



Brian Pierson

Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.

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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