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Paul Banker Wins Before U.S. Supreme Court on Native American Tribal Court Jurisdiction

Paul A. Banker ('95), an appellate litigator and co-chair of the insurance recovery group at Lindquist & Vennum, Minneapolis, successfully argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court recently. The high court decided issues of jurisdiction in cases between Native American tribal courts and non-tribal members that had not previously been addressed.

The case involved a decision by the Eighth District Court of Appeals for a Native American couple who claimed that Plains Commerce Bank of South Dakota had discriminated against them. Banker and Robert V. Atmore of Lindquist & Vennum petitioned the high court on behalf of their client, the bank, to reverse the earlier decision.

In oral arguments to the Court, Banker said that a tribal court lacks jurisdiction to rule on civil claims when a Native American sues a non-tribal member, such as the bank.

On June 25, 2008, the Court ruled in the case of Plains Commerce Bank vs. Long Family Land and Cattle Company, Inc., et al., that the tribal court did not have jurisdiction to hear a discrimination claim concerning the bank’s sale of its land inside an Indian reservation. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion explaining the Court’s reasoning behind the decision.