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State v. Tribe

United States District Court, D. Idaho

June 23, 2014

STATE OF IDAHO, a sovereign State of the United States Plaintiff,
v.
COEUR D'ALENE TRIBE, a federally recognized Indian tribe, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

The Court has before it defendant Coeur d'Alene Tribe's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 15) as well as plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and for a Preliminary Injunction (Dkts. 3, 4). For the reasons explained below, the Court will stay this lawsuit based on the Tribe's argument that the parties' Class III Gaming Compact requires arbitration.

BACKGROUND

In early May 2014, the Coeur d'Alene Tribe began conducting Texas Hold 'em tournaments at the Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort Hotel. Texas Hold 'em is a poker game. The State of Idaho immediately sought an injunction prohibiting the Tribe from conducting the tournaments. The State argues that the Tribe is violating the parties' Class III Gaming Compact.

The Tribe responded with a motion to dismiss. Among other things, the Tribe says the parties should not be before this Court because Article 21 of the Gaming Compact requires arbitration.

The relevant parts of Article 21 provide as follows:

Article 21. Dispute Resolution.
...
21.2 Except as provided in Article 6[1], if either party believes that the other party has failed to comply with any requirement of this Compact, it shall invoke the following procedure:
1. The party asserting the non-compliance shall serve written notice on the other party. The notice shall identify the specific statutory, regulatory or Compact provision alleged to have been violated and shall specify the factual basis for the alleged noncompliance. The State and the Tribe shall thereafter meet within ten (10) working days in an effort to resolve the dispute.
2. If the dispute is not resolved to the satisfaction of the parties within sixty (60) days after service of the notice set forth in Article 21.2.1, either party may pursue binding arbitration to enforce or resolve disputes concerning the provisions of this Compact.
21.3 Except as provided in Article 6, both parties consent to binding arbitration as provided herein. Once a party has given notice of intent to pursue binding arbitration and the notice has been sent to the non-complaining party, the matter in controversy may not be litigated in court proceedings. A panel of three (3) arbitrators shall be selected by the American Arbitration Association
21.4 Nothing in this Article 21 shall be construed to preclude, limit or restrict the ability of the parties to pursue, by mutual agreement, alternative methods of dispute resolution, whether binding or non-binding, including, but not limited to, arbitration, mediation, mini-trials or judicial resolution firms; provided, however, that neither ...

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