Furry v. Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, No. 11-13673 (11th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff-Appellant John Furry, as personal representative of the estate of his daughter Tatiana Furry, appealed a district court’s order granting the Miccosukee Tribe’s motion to dismiss his complaint. He complained that the Miccosukee Tribe violated 18 U.S.C. 1161 and Florida’s dram shop law by knowingly serving excessive amounts of alcohol to his daughter, who then got in her car, drove off while intoxicated, and ended up in a fatal head-on collision with another vehicle on a highway just outside Miami. The Miccosukee Tribe moved to dismiss the complaint on the jurisdictional ground that it was immune from suit under the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity. In its order granting the tribe's motion to dismiss, the district court determined that tribal sovereign immunity barred it from entertaining the suit. Upon review, the Eleventh Circuit agreed: "The Supreme Court has made clear that a suit against an Indian tribe is barred unless the tribe has clearly waived its immunity or Congress has expressly and unequivocally abrogated that immunity. [Plaintiff argued] that both of these exceptions have been met here, but these arguments are ultimately without merit."