Justia U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Gaming Law
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The Eighth Circuit held that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act does not preempt the imposition of statewide tax on the gross receipts of a nonmember contractor for services performed in renovating and expanding the Tribe's gaming casino located on the Reservation. The court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the Tribe and held that the Tribe has failed to show that the tax has more than a de minimis financial impact on federal and tribal interests. Furthermore, the State's legitimate interests in raising revenues for essential government programs that benefit the nonmember contractor-taxpayer in this case, as well as its interest in being able to apply its generally applicable contractor excise tax throughout the State, were sufficient to justify imposing the excise tax on the construction services performed on the Casino's realty. Finally, the court granted the State's motion to dismiss the State Treasurer and remanded for further proceedings. View "Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe v. Haeder" on Justia Law

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After the Tribe failed to remit the use tax on goods and services sold to nonmembers at its casino and store, the State's Department of Revenue denied the Tribe renewals of alcoholic beverage licenses that were issued to the casino and the store. The South Dakota Office of Hearing Examiners upheld the decision and the Tribe appealed.The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's conclusion that imposition of the South Dakota use tax on nonmember purchases of amenities at the Casino is preempted by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). Applying the analysis in White Mountain Apache Tribe v. Bracker, 448 U.S. 136 (1980), the court held that the Tribe’s on-reservation Class III gaming activity is analogous to the nonmember logging activity on tribal land at issue in Bracker, and to the nonmember activity in building a reservation school at issue in Ramah Navajo School Bd., Inc. v. Bureau of Revenue of N.M., 458 U.S. 832, 838 (1982). Furthermore, raising revenues to provide government services throughout South Dakota does not outweigh the federal and tribal interests in Class III gaming reflected in the IGRA and the history of tribal independence in gaming.However, the court reversed the district court's Amended Judgment declaring that the State could not condition renewal of any alcoholic beverage license issued to the Tribe on the collection and remittance of a use tax on nonmember consumer purchases. In this case, the Tribe has failed to meet its burden to demonstrate that the State alcohol license requirement was not reasonably necessary to further its interest in collecting valid state taxes. View "Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe v. Noem" on Justia Law

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Defendant, a corporal in the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC), appealed the denial of his motion to dismiss claims related to the search of a residence. The district court determined that defendant was not entitled to qualified immunity because a reasonable officer would have known that a warrant should not have issued based on the information he provided to the issuing court. The Eighth Circuit reversed, holding that it was not entirely unreasonable for defendant to believe that his affidavit established sufficient indicia of probable cause for the search and seizure of the items listed in the warrant. In this case, the affidavit provided probable cause to seize a deer, based on an anonymous tip and a recorded jailhouse call. Furthermore, the items described in the warrant were relevant to the criminal offense under investigation, as they directly related to the existence, capture, and maintaining of a pet deer. View "Kiesling v. Spurlock" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, individually and purportedly on behalf of others similarly situated, filed suit against GameStop for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, money had and received, and violation of Minnesota’s Consumer Fraud Act (CFA), Minn. Stat. 325F.68, et seq. Plaintiff alleged that GameStop's disclosure of personally identifiable information (PII) to a third party (Facebook) violated an express agreement not to do so. The district court granted GameStop's motion to dismiss based on plaintiff's lack of standing. The court concluded that plaintiff provided sufficient facts alleging that he is party to a binding contract with GameStop, and GameStop does not dispute this contractual relationship; GameStop has violated that policy; and plaintiff has suffered damages as a result of GameStop's breach. The court also concluded that plaintiff has standing to bring his breach-of-contract claim and to bring his other claims. The court concluded, however, that the privacy policy unambiguously does not include those pieces of information among the protected PII. Therefore, the protection plaintiff argues GameStop failed to provide was not among the protections for which he bargained by agreeing to the terms of service, and GameStop thus could not have breached its contract with plaintiff. Plaintiff's Minnesota CFA claims fail for similar reasons. Finally, plaintiff has not alleged a claim for unjust enrichment or the related claim of money had and received. View "Carlsen v. GameStop, Inc." on Justia Law

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Bettor Racing sought judicial review of NIGC finding that Bettor Racing had committed three violations of the Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, 25 U.S.C. 2711(a), and NIGC's issuance of a Notice and Civil-Fine Assessment. The court concluded that the facts support NIGC’s finding that Bettor Racing (1) operated without an NIGC-approved management contract, (2) operated under two unapproved modifications, and (3) held the sole proprietary interest in the gaming operations. Therefore, the district court did not err in upholding the charged violations. The court also concluded that the district court did not err in finding the $5 million fine both reasonable and constitutional. Finally, the court rejected Bettor Racing's contention that NIGC violated its right to due process when the agency dismissed the case on summary judgment without a hearing because NIGC relied on undisputed facts in reaching its conclusion. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Bettor Racing, Inc. v. National Indian Gaming Comm." on Justia Law

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American Century, a mutual fund, offers investment portfolios, including Ultra Fund. Ultra Fund invested in PartyGaming, a Gibraltar company that facilitated internet gambling. In 2005, PartyGaming made an initial public offering of its stock, which was listed on the London Stock Exchange. In its prospectus, PartyGaming noted that the legality of online gaming was uncertain in several countries, including the U.S.; 87 percent of its revenue came from U.S. customers. PartyGaming acknowledged that “action by US authorities … prohibiting or restricting PartyGaming from offering online gaming in the US . . . could result in investors losing all or a very substantial part of their investment.” Ultra Fund purchased shares in PartyGaming totaling over $81 million. In 2006, following increased government enforcement against illegal internet gambling, the stock price dropped. Ultra Fund divested itself of PartyGaming, losing $16 million. Seidl, a shareholder, claimed negligence, waste, and breach of fiduciary duty against American Century. The company refused her demand to bring an action. Seidl brought a shareholder’s derivative action. The Eighth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the defendants, concluding that Seidl could not bring suit where the company had declined to do so in a valid exercise of business judgment. The litigation committee adopted a reasonable methodology in conducting its investigation and reaching its conclusion. View "Seidl v. Am. Century Co., Inc" on Justia Law

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Kaplan operated an illegal sports-booking business in New York that moved to Costa Rica in the 1990s. In 2004, the company went public on the London Stock Exchange. Before going public, Kaplan placed $98 million in trusts off the coast of France. Kaplan neglected to pay federal income or capital gains tax for the trusts for 2004 and 2005. In 2006, Kaplan was indicted for operating an illegal online gambling business within the U.S. Kaplan accepted a plea agreement, which stated: [N]othing contained in this document is meant to limit the rights and authority of the United States … to take any civil, civil tax or administrative action against the defendant. The court asked: Do you understand … that there is a difference between a criminal tax proceeding and a civil tax proceeding … that [this] doesn't preclude the initiation of any civil tax proceeding or administrative action against you? Kaplan replied, "I understand." The court sentenced Kaplan to 51 months of imprisonment, and ordered forfeiture of $43,650,000. Later, the IRS issued Kaplan a notice of deficiency with penalties, totaling more than $36,000,000. The Eighth Circuit affirmed: since Kaplan failed to file a return, the period to assess taxes never began to run; the plea agreement was unambiguous; and the government's failure to object to the Presentence Report did not prevent the government from bringing a civil tax proceeding. View "Kaplan v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Fond du Luth Casino in Duluth opened in 1986 as a joint venture between the city and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and is operated by the Band. The 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act led to restructuring of agreements between the Band and the city under a 1994 consent decree, under which the Band paid the city $75 million 1994-2009, 19 percent of gross revenues. The Band stopped making payments in 2009, believing that they violated IGRA as interpreted by the National Indian Gaming Commission. In 2011, the Gaming Commission issued a Notice of Violation, determining that the payments violated IGRA requirements that tribes have the sole proprietary interest in casinos and are their primary beneficiaries. The Commission ordered the Band not to resume payments. The Band sought relief under FRCP 60(b)(6) from payments in 2009-2011. The district court denied relief. The Eighth Circuit remanded and again reversed and remanded, finding that the district court failed to consider all of the factors identified in its 2013 order. The court must give proper weight to the congressional intent that tribes be the primary beneficiaries of Indian gaming and the fact that the city was on notice in 2009 of Gaming Commission policies. View "Duluth v. Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa" on Justia Law

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These four adversary proceedings involved suits by Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees against the Lower Sioux Indian Community (the Tribe) and its subsidiary, Dakota Finance Corporation (together, Defendants). In three of the adversaries, the trustees pursued the Tribe and the debtors for turnover of ongoing tribal revenue payments owed to the debtors under the Tribe's ordinances and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. In one of the adversaries, the trustee was seeking to avoid a lien asserted by Dakota Finance Corporation on the ongoing revenue payments owed to one debtor as being unperfected. Absent the filing of a bankruptcy case, the creditors of these debtors would be prohibited by the Tribe's sovereign immunity from, for example, garnishing those revenues. The issue here was whether the filing of bankruptcy by Tribe members serves to make the debtors' ongoing revenues from the tribe available to the respective trustees for the benefit of their creditors. The bankruptcy court held that Defendants were protected by sovereign immunity and dismissed the adversaries as to those parties. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the bankruptcy court did not err in concluding that Defendants were protected by sovereign immunity and were, therefore, immune from these suits against them. View "Dietz v. Lower Sioux Indian Cmty." on Justia Law

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These four adversary proceedings involved suits by Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees against the Lower Sioux Indian Community (the Tribe) and its subsidiary, Dakota Finance Corporation (together, Defendants). In three of the adversaries, the trustees pursued the Tribe and the debtors for turnover of ongoing tribal revenue payments owed to the debtors under the Tribe's ordinances and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. In one of the adversaries, the trustee was seeking to avoid a lien asserted by Dakota Finance Corporation on the ongoing revenue payments owed to one debtor as being unperfected. Absent the filing of a bankruptcy case, the creditors of these debtors would be prohibited by the Tribe's sovereign immunity from, for example, garnishing those revenues. The issue here was whether the filing of bankruptcy by Tribe members serves to make the debtors' ongoing revenues from the tribe available to the respective trustees for the benefit of their creditors. The bankruptcy court held that Defendants were protected by sovereign immunity and dismissed the adversaries as to those parties. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the bankruptcy court did not err in concluding that Defendants were protected by sovereign immunity and were, therefore, immune from these suits against them. View "Bucher v. Dakota Fin. Corp." on Justia Law