Procedural Posture

Appellant challenged the judgment of the Superior Court of Riverside County, (California), which held that appellee Indian casino corporation enjoyed immunity from state tort laws for an accident caused at its casino.

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Appellant was injured in a fight at appellee Indian casino corporation. Appellant brought suit in state court, claiming negligence on behalf of the corporation and individual members. Appellee moved to dismiss, claiming immunity from state tort laws. The trial court granted appellee’s motion and dismissed appellant’s suit. Appellant challenged the judgment, and on appeal, the court affirmed the trial ruling. The court held that under the three-part Gavle test, appellee should be granted immunity from state court rulings because the corporation was formed for the benefit of the tribal members, was closely related to the tribe, and federal policies furthered immunity in this case. The court upheld the dismissal of the suit and concluded that appellant had to pursue his negligence suit in the tribe’s civil jurisdiction.


The court affirmed the judgment of the lower court and held that appellee Indian casino corporation had immunity from the state’s tort laws, and therefore appellant’s negligence suit had to be filed within the tribe’s civil jurisdiction.