Published June 29, 2016
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court won’t be getting involved in a gaming compact negotiation case between the Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians and the state California.
Without comment, the justices on Monday denied petitions in California v. Pauma Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Pauma and Yuima Reservation and Pauma Band of Mission Indians v. California. Their move affirms a divided opinion from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which held that the tribe was cheated into sharing more slot machine revenues with the state.
The October 2015 decision was a victory to the tribe on that front. The court ordered the state to repay $36.2 million for the ill-gotten revenues.
At the same time, the tribe wasn’t able to force the state to come back to the negotiating table for a new agreement. A petition filed with the Supreme Court notes that its Class III gaming compact expires in four years and that further litigation could draw out the matter even longer.
“After the state invariably demands tax payments in a creatively different manner than before, Pauma will then face the prospect of litigating a bad faith negotiation claim in the Ninth Circuit, where the typical lifespan of such a case ranges from six to eight years,” the brief stated.
The state, on the other hand, remains on the hook for the $36.2 million payment. By denying the petition, the Supreme Court did not disturb the 9th Circuit’s decision on that issue.