909 P.2d 59 (Okla. 1995), 78185, Hoover v. Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma

Docket Nº:78185.
Citation:909 P.2d 59, 1995 OK 136
Party Name:Robert M. HOOVER, Jr., Appellant, v. KIOWA TRIBE OF OKLAHOMA, an Indian Nation, J.T. Goombi, Leonard Anquoe, Maimie Bohay, Allene Woodward, George Tahbone and Charles Hines, Appellees.
Case Date:December 12, 1995
Court:Supreme Court of Oklahoma
 
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909 P.2d 59 (Okla. 1995)

1995 OK 136

Robert M. HOOVER, Jr., Appellant,

v.

KIOWA TRIBE OF OKLAHOMA, an Indian Nation, J.T. Goombi,

Leonard Anquoe, Maimie Bohay, Allene Woodward,

George Tahbone and Charles Hines, Appellees.

No. 78185.

Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

December 12, 1995.

Page 60

Appeal from District Court of Oklahoma County.

William J. Robinson, Shirk, Work, Robinson & Work, P.C., Oklahoma City, for Appellant.

Nathan H. Young III, Tahlequah, for Appellees.

ALMA WILSON, Chief Justice:

The issue is whether a contract between an Indian tribe and a non-Indian is enforceable in state court when the contract is executed outside of Indian Country. We hold that it is enforceable.

FACTS

On April 3, 1990, the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, represented by the individuals named in Hoover's complaint, 1 made, executed and delivered to Robert M. Hoover, Jr., a promissory note for $142,500.00, and executed a security agreement on the same date pledging as security 5,000 shares of common stock of Clinton-Sherman Aviation, Inc. 2 The tribe allegedly breached the contract by failing to make any of the agreed payments. After proper notice to the tribe, Hoover sold the stock at public auction. 3 Thereafter, Hoover brought this action in Oklahoma state court. The tribe moved to dismiss due

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to lack of jurisdiction, claiming that Hoover had not exhausted his tribal remedies and that the tribe could not be subjected to state court jurisdiction due to tribal sovereign immunity. The trial court agreed and ruled:

(1) the only means by which an Indian Tribe can be sued is if a) Congress of the United States has authorized the suit by specific legislation, or b) the Indian Tribe has clearly waived its sovereign immunity; (2) although the subject contract does not relate to Indian lands or trust lands, the funds to pay the amount contracted for comes from the Kiowa Tribe and the payment affects the tribe's economic interest; (3) to construe the immunity to suit as not applying to suits on liabilities arising out of private transactions would defeat the very purpose of Congress in not relaxing the immunity, namely, the protection of the interests and property of the tribes and the individual Indians; and (4) due to the express clauses in the note and security agreement stating that sovereign immunity was not waived, the state court does not have jurisdiction.

Hoover appealed.

TRIBAL SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY

The Kiowa Tribe claims that the state of Oklahoma cannot obtain...

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