Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc. v. Lac Du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, No. 14-2150 (7th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
This appeal was the most recent appeal in a series of lawsuits that have arisen over the sale of bonds by a corporation wholly owned by the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (collectively, “the Tribal Entities”). In a prior action, the Seventh Circuit held that a bond indenture constituted an unapproved management contract under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (“IGRA”) and was therefore void. Following more than three years of litigating the validity of other bond-related documents in federal and state court, the Tribal Entities instituted a tribal court action seeking a declaration that the bonds are invalid under the IGRA as well as tribal law. Certain “Financial Entities” and Godfrey & Kahn S.C. sought an injunction in the Western District of Wisconsin to preclude the Tribal Entities from pursuing their tribal court action. The district court preliminarily enjoined the Tribal Entities from proceeding against the Financial Entities but allowed the tribal action to proceed against Godfrey. The Seventh Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the district court (1) did not abuse its discretion in enjoining the tribal court action against the Financial Entities; but (2) made several errors of law in assessing whether Godfrey had established a likelihood of success on the merits. Remanded.