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Supreme Court of the United States
April 16, 1985, Argued ; June 3, 1985, Decided
[*847] [***821] [**2449] JUSTICE STEVENS delivered the opinion of the Court.
A member of the Crow Tribe of Indians filed suit against the Lodge [****5] Grass School District No. 27 (School District) in the Crow Tribal Court and obtained a default judgment. Thereafter, the School District and its insurer, National Farmers Union Insurance Companies (National), commenced this litigation in the District Court for the District of Montana; that court was persuaded that the Crow Tribal Court had no jurisdiction over a civil action against a non-Indian and entered an injunction against further proceedings in the Tribal Court. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the District Court had no jurisdiction to enter such an injunction. We granted certiorari to consider whether the District Court properly entertained petitioners' request for an injunction under 28 U. S. C. § 1331. 469 U.S. 1032 (1984).
The facts as found by the District Court are not substantially disputed. On May 27, 1982, Leroy Sage, a Crow Indian minor, was struck by a motorcycle in the Lodge Grass Elementary School parking lot while returning from a school activity. The school has a student body that is 85% Crow Indian. It is located on land owned by the State within the boundaries of the Crow Indian Reservation. Through his guardian, Flora Not [****6] Afraid, Sage initiated a lawsuit in the Crow Tribal Court against the School District, a political subdivision of the State, alleging damages of $ 153,000, including medical expenses of $ 3,000 and pain and suffering of $ 150,000.
On September 28, 1982, process was served by Dexter Falls Down on Wesley Falls Down, the Chairman of the School Board. For reasons that have not been explained, Wesley [***822] Falls Down failed to notify anyone that a suit had been filed. On October 19, 1982, a default judgment was entered pursuant to the rules of the Tribal Court, and on [*848] October 25, 1982, Judge Roundface entered findings of fact, conclusions of law, and a judgment for $ 153,000 against the School District. Sage v. Lodge Grass School District, 10 Indian L. Rep. 6019 (1982). A copy of that judgment was hand-delivered by Wesley Falls Down to the school Principal who, in turn, forwarded it to National on October 29, 1982.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
471 U.S. 845 *; 105 S. Ct. 2447 **; 85 L. Ed. 2d 818 ***; 1985 U.S. LEXIS 27 ****; 53 U.S.L.W. 4649
NATIONAL FARMERS UNION INSURANCE COS. ET AL. v. CROW TRIBE OF INDIANS ET AL.
Prior History: [****1] CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.
Disposition: 736 F.2d 1320, reversed and remanded.
tribal court, Tribe, non-Indians, district court, federal court, federal law, tribal, exhaustion, injunction, sovereignty, invoke
Civil Procedure, Jurisdiction, Jurisdictional Sources, Constitutional Sources, Governments, Courts, Common Law, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, General Overview, Jurisdiction Over Actions, Preliminary Considerations, Federal & State Interrelationships, Federal Common Law, Federal Questions, Native Americans, Authority & Jurisdiction, Authority to Adjudicate, Pretrial Judgments, Default & Default Judgments, Default Judgments, Judgments, Relief From Default, Relief From Judgments, Remedies, Injunctions