Tribal Court

Election Challenge

Case No.: 09-545-ELE: Donald Sumners v. Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Election Board
Read Opinion dated July 23, 2011

General Civil

Consolidated Cases: Case No: 04-001-CV and 04-005-CV: David C. Drake v. Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Tribal Council, and Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Housing Authority.
Read Opinion and Order dated December 8, 2004

Case No: 07-150-CV: Robert Soderberg v. Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Tribal Council; Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians; Trudy Loeding, Individually; and Tom Wesaw, Jr., Individually.
Read Opinion and Order dated September 23, 2008

Case No: 08-201-CV: H. Timothy Fenderbosch v. Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Tribal Council and Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.
Read Opinion and Order dated August 13, 2008

Case No: 08-343-CV: Trena Jones v. Pokagon Gaming Authority, a chartered instrumentality of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.
Read Opinion and Order dated February 17, 2009

Plaintiff, a patron at the Four Winds Casino Resort, sued Defendants for injuries from Defendants negligently failing to remove ice from the Casino entrance. It was stipulated that the Four Winds Casino Resort and the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Gaming enterprise be dismissed. The Court granted the remaining Defendant, Pokagon Gaming Authority’s Motion for Summary Dismissal because Plaintiff failed to comply with the pre-suit notice requirement (Section 9 of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Tort Claims Ordinance) because the notice that was provided did not provide the details required by Section 9. Further, the Court ruled the Complaint was not filed within 180 days as required by Section 10 of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Tort Claims Ordinance. The Plaintiff’s claim of tolling of the statute of limitations was denied by the Court based on the factual development of the case.

Case No. 10-701-CV: Estate of Rodney Holmes V. Four Winds Casino Resort
Read Opinion and Order dated May 10, 2012

Plaintiff claims damages for wrongful death resulting from the Defendant’s negligence as the possessor of the premises, being the Four Winds Casino Resort. The Court granted Defendant’s Motion for Summary Disposition finding it provided reasonable aid to an invitee and summoning professional medical assistance within a reasonable time. The Court relied on the rules of practices and substantive law of Michigan pursuant to Sections VII and VIII of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Tribal Court Code and Section 11 of the Tort Claims Ordinance.

Case No: 10-971-CV: Gypsy Crakes v. Four Winds Casino Resort.
Read Opinion and Order dated March 22, 2011

Plaintiff sued Defendant for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regarding failure to accommodate and for other reasons. Based on the Civil Rights Ordinance the Court ruled the Defendant enjoyed sovereign immunity, but granted Plaintiff attorney fees which were permitted under the Civil Rights Ordinance.

Case No: 11-1328-CV: Jeanette Borzych v. FOUR WINDS CASINO RESORT, LAKES ENTERTAINMENT, INC., As managers for the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, POKAGON BAND OF POTAWATOMI INDIANS, GAMING ENTERPRISE and/or POKAGON GAMING AUTHORITY, A charter Instrumentality of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.
Read Opinion and Order dated February 15, 2012

Plaintiff sued Defendant for injuries suffered as a result of her slip and fall in a puddle of water in the rest room. Defendant moved for Summary Disposition based on the open and obvious doctrine. The Court looked to Michigan law pursuant to the Tribal Court Code and Tort Claims Ordinance. The Court granted Defendant’s Motion based on Lugo v. Ameritech Corp., Inc., 464 Mich. 512, 629 N.W.2d 384 (2001), finding the open and obvious doctrine applied and an average user with ordinary intelligence would have discovered any danger upon casual inspection. The Court found no “special aspects” existed that would take the matter out of the open and obvious doctrine.

Case No. 13-2504-CV: Lois Lucille Dyer v. Four Winds Casino Resort, Pokagon Gaming Enterprise and/or Pokagon Gaming Authority, A charter Instrumentality of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
Read Opinion and Order dated May 6, 2014

Plaintiff filed a three count complaint alleging negligence, premises liability and failure to investigate and disclose the identity of a person who collided with the Plaintiff at the Four Winds Casino Resort causing injury. The Court granted Defendant’s Motion for Summary Disposition pursuant to §10 of the Tort Claims Ordinance ruling a “claim” for an “award” had not been timely filed as defined in §2.D and 2.B of the ordinance. Further, the Court ruled that there was no duty on the possessor of land to protect the interest of a potential tort feasor by the investigation, identification and disclosure of the tort feasor’s name. A subsequent Motion for Reconsideration by Plaintiff was denied because the Court found no palpable error which would result in a different disposition of Defendant’s Motion for Summary Disposition.

Consolidated Cases: Case No's. 14-2709-CV; 14-2710-CV; 14-2711-CV: Marsha Halford v. Four Winds Casino, Christine Guimond, in her official capacity, and Barry Rhodes, in his official capacity.
Read Opinion and Order dated October 23, 2014

Plaintiff, a casino employee, sued Defendants, the Four Winds Casino and employees, for disparate treatment in violation of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Civil Rights Ordinance and interference with a business relationship. The Court granted Defendants' Motion for Summary Disposition and dismissed Plaintiff's Complaint finding Indian Tribes have the same general authority as other governments to create agencies for governmental and commercial purposes. The Court held that the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and its Pokagon Gaming Authority and employees are shielded by sovereign immunity which had not been waived except for declaratory or injunctive relief as provided in Section 3 of its Civil Rights Ordinance. Lastly, the Defendants are not subject to the exclusions from sovereign immunity under 42 USC 2007(a). The Court also found that the Plaintiff did not fall within the Tort Claims Ordinance regarding the tortious interference with a business relationship because there was no claim of negligence in the performance of the Defendants' duty during or within the scope of their employment and is not the result of the property being in a dangerous condition as otherwise required in the ordinance.

Civil Offense

Case No. 10-1093-CO: The People of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians v. Mark Joseph Adamski
Case No. 10-1094-CO: The People of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians v. Dani Alfred Simon

Read Opinion and Order dated September 14, 2011

In these two cases, combined for purposes of decision, the Defendants were issued a civil infraction citation for cheating at blackjack at the Four Winds Casino Resort (violation of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Code of Offenses, Section 14 E claiming the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Code of Offenses, Section 14 A is unconstitutionally vague). As a result of sloppy dealing, one Defendant would secretly signal the value of the dealer’s hold card to the other Defendant which influenced whether the player took another card or not. The Court ruled the Defendants were clearly on notice their conduct was cheating because it altered the element of chance, method of selection or criteria which determined the result of the game.