Dietz v. Lower Sioux Indian Cmty., No. 12-6005 (8th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
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.