Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

PETITIONER: Dollar General Corporation, et al.
RESPONDENT: Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, et al.
LOCATION: Dollar General Store

DOCKET NO.: 13-1496
DECIDED BY: Roberts Court (2016- )
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 579 US (2016)
GRANTED: Jun 15, 2015
ARGUED: Dec 07, 2015
DECIDED: Jun 23, 2016

ADVOCATES:
Edwin S. Kneedler - Deputy Solicitor General, for the United States as amicus curiae, for the respondents
Neal Kumar Katyal - for the respondents
Thomas C. Goldstein - for the petitioners

Facts of the case

Dollar General Corporation (Dollar General) operates a store on land held in trust for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (Tribe). The store operates pursuant to a lease and business license agreement with the Tribe. In the spring of 2003, John Doe, a 13-year-old member of the Tribe alleged that he was sexually molested by the store manager, Dale Townsend, while he was working at the store as part of an internship program that the Tribe runs and in which the Townsend agreed to participate.

In 2005, Doe sued Townsend and Dollar General in tribal court. Both defendants moved to dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and the tribal court denied the motions. The Choctaw Supreme Court upheld the denial of the motions by finding that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Montana v. United States, which allowed a tribe to regulate the activities of nonmembers who enter into a consensual arrangement with the tribe, applied in this case. The defendants then sued the Tribe in federal district court and sought injunctions to stop the suit in tribal court. The district court granted the injunction for Townsend but not for Dollar General because the company had failed to carry its burden to show that the Montana decision did not apply in this case. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed.

Question

Does a tribal court have jurisdiction to adjudicate civil tort claims against nonmembers?

Media for Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 07, 2015 in Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 23, 2016 in Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

In case 13-1496, Dollar General Corporation versus Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and Case 15-674 United States against Texas, the judgments are affirmed by an equally divided Court.

This Court will next sit Monday morning at 10 o'clock.

At that time we will announce all remaining opinions ready during this term of the Court.

Sarah from Law Aspect

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