Court upholds immunity for tribal loan firms
Payday loan companies owned by tribes enjoy sovereign immunity, the California Court of Appeal ruled on Monday.

Five companies owned by the Miami Nation of Oklahoma and the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska do business over the Internet. The California Department of Corporations tried to enforce various provisions of state law on the firms but the court said they are entitled to immunity.

"Certainly, as Indian tribes operate in an increasingly commercial climate affecting large numbers of consumers, the justification for a broad doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity can be called into question:," the court said. "In our interdependent and mobile society, however, tribal immunity extends beyond what is needed to safeguard tribal self-governance."

The same companies won a similar ruling in Colorado, the Turtle Talk blog said in what it called a "rent-a-tribe" case.

Get the Story:
Loan Companies Owned by Tribes Have Sovereign Immunity—C.A. (The Metropolitan News-Enterprise 12/17)

California Court of Appeal Decision:
Ameriloan v. Super. Ct (December 15, 2008)