Litigation and Appellate Practice
Dorsey’s Indian law litigation experience includes representation of tribes, tribal entities and tribal officials in a broad variety of litigated matters. Dorsey has appeared on behalf of tribal clients in tribal, federal and state courts across the country, and also in arbitrations and before federal agencies. Dorsey has handled significant cases in Indian country involving treaty rights, state taxation, employment, election and membership disputes, breach of contract, breach of trust duty, federal recognition, and gaming, among other areas. Representative Litigation Matters
Dorsey has achieved litigation success in all stages of litigation in a wide range of Indian law cases. Here are a few recent examples.
- Dorsey represented an Indian Tribe in litigation against the Indian Health Service and Bureau of Indian Affairs for underpayment of contract support costs under Indian Self-Determination and Assistance Act (ISDA) contracts.
- Dorsey represented an Indian Tribe in federal court litigation against the state of Michigan Revenue Officials challenging the state’s attempt to impose ad valorem property taxes against the Tribe and its members on fee land within the Tribe's Reservation. Dorsey obtained summary judgment on behalf of the Tribe and that decision was affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Dorsey represented an Indian Tribe, one of its tribal corporations and various tribal officials in federal court litigation against Kansas Revenue Officials regarding the state’s seizure of the tribal corporation's gas tanker truck and the state’s attempt to impose a state fuel tax on sales of fuel by the tribal corporation to Indian tribes in Kansas. Dorsey obtained a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction from the Federal District Court in Kansas, and this injunctive relief was affirmed by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Dorsey later obtained summary judgment on behalf of the Tribe, the tribal corporation and tribal officials.
- Dorsey currently represents an Indian Tribe in federal court challenging an attempt by a city and state government to impose personal property taxes on gaming devices leased by the Tribe for use in the Tribe’s gaming facility. While the federal case is ongoing, we have obtained a stay of a state court tax case brought by the township, and have also obtained several key discovery rulings in favor of the Tribe.
- Dorsey recently represented a Tribe in its Tribal Court against a challenge to the Tribe’s implementation of a random drug testing policy among its government and tribal employees. The Tribal Court recently ruled in favor of the Tribe, upholding its random drug testing policy. The matter is on appeal to the Tribe’s Appellate Court.
- Dorsey represented an Indian Tribe in federal and tribal court litigation arising out of a golf course development and management contract. Dorsey obtained dismissal of the federal court action on behalf of the Tribe, and eventually assisted the Tribe in obtaining a very favorable settlement after several key rulings in favor of the Tribe in Tribal Court.
Dorsey has handled federal appellate Indian law cases in the 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th Courts of Appeals, the appellate courts in the states of California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas and Iowa, and the appellate tribal courts for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe and the Intertribal Court of Southern California. Dorsey has also filed amicus briefs for various tribal clients, including the National Congress of American Indians, with the United States Supreme Court.