Norton v Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray reservation

Tribe and other defendants appealed the district court preliminary injunction barring a tort suit filed in tribal court from proceeding and denying defendants’ motion to dismiss based on tribal sovereign immunity. The panel vacated in part and remanded. It held that tribal court jurisdiction was colorable over the trespass claim that Norton and other Utah local police officers entered the reservation, chased a passenger in a car that did not pull over, shot and killed the passenger and refused to allow tribal police to access the scene because ability to exclude nonmembers is a key element of tribal sovereignty and the acts here may be catastrophic to tribal self-government and thus the tribal court proceeding should continue on the trespass claim. The panel affirmed as to all other tort claims as they were directed at harm to tribal members not to the self-government or other interests of the Tribe as a whole. It held that tribal court jurisdiction over Norton and the other officers was proper as they were not authorized to enforce tribal law and any crime that the deceased passenger Amy have committed was done entirely on tribal land. It led the bad faith exception did not apply here as there is no evidence the tribal court has acted in bad faith, tribal courts provide appropriate levels of due process and are fair to nonmembers. It held the motion to dismiss was properly denied as to the head of the tribal court as he was sued in his official positon to halt allegedly unlawful assertion of jurisdiction, but, held Tribe, the tribal court and the tribe’s business committee are all immune and the motion to dims should have been granted as to them. The case was remanded for further proceedings.

Punt v Kelly Services and GE Controls Solutions

Punt appealed summary judgment to Kelly and GE on her disability and genetic information claims and the denial of her motion to compel discovery. The panel affirmed. As to discovery, the panel held that the magistrate was not obligated to narrow Punt’s overbroad and burdensome discovery request as attorneys are charged with drafting requests that comply with the rules of civil procedure. As to her disability claim, the panel first held that the district court erroneously conflated the types of claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the evidence need to support the claims and here a failure to accommodate claim was pled which does not require evidence of discriminatory intent and applying eh burden shifting McDonald Douglas regime or requiring direct evidence of animus is error. Applying the circuit’s methodology for assessing failure to accommodate claims, the panel affirmed as Punt’s requested accommodation to take of large chunks of time to deal with her breast cancer was not plausibly reasonable in the context of a temporary receptionist job obtained through a staffing agency which required daily physical presence and there was no indication the need for time off would end in the near future. It finally affirmed on the genetic information claim as unsupported by evidence and further that GE had a legitimate reason to terminate the temporary assignment based on unavailability.