A Florida appeals court upheld the sovereignty of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, halting litigation against the tribe in a civil wrongful death lawsuit.

The Florida 2nd District Court of Appeal tossed a lawsuit filed by Victoria Velasquez seeking damages from the Seminole Tribe in the death of her husband. Velasquez’s husband, Roselindo, was struck and killed in 2006 while walking across the street after leaving the tribe’s Immokalee casino. An employee at the casino had been driving.

Velasquez argued in her lawsuit that the tribe was liable for her husband’s death because the driver worked for them, but Florida law states that Indian tribes are immune from actions in civil court as sovereign governments, unless a tribe consents to take part, or is ordered by the U.S. Congress.

But Velasquez argued the Seminole Tribe’s compact with the state allowing gambling at its casinos makes the tribe susceptible to civil proceedings.

The 2nd DCA ruled in favor of the tribe saying, “Florida law is clear that the Indian tribes are independent sovereign governments not subject to the civil jurisdiction of the courts of this state.” The court’s ruling (.pdf) also states that the tribe’s compact with Florida government had no bearing on the lawsuit because the crash that killed Velasquez did not occur on Seminole Tribe property.

0 Shares:
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Third state committee gave money to Brown, Diaz-Balart’s lawsuit funds

The Orlando Sentinel broke news last month about a pair of Florida political committees associated with state legislators that had donated $10,000 apiece to the legal expense funds of Reps. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and Mario Diaz-Balart. That money is being used to sue to block anti-gerrymandering Amendment 6. But a review of the records of Brown and Diaz-Balart's legal expense funds, accessible only in person in Washington, D.C., and obtained by our sister site The American Independent, shows that a third committee, associated with state Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, also gave money in June.