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Seneca Nation man loses online tobacco sale case in Oregon


Scott Maybee, a member of the Seneca Nation in New York, lost an Internet tobacco sales case in Oregon.

Maybee operates a business on his tribe's reservation and sells cigarettes over the Internet. Some of his brands are not included in the 1998 multi-state tobacco settlement.

Oregon requires businesses that sell such brands to pay into an escrow fund. The state also limits the sale of the brands.

Maybee contended that he shouldn't have to comply with the law because his business is based in Indian Country. But the Oregon Court of Appeals said his conduct reaches beyond the boundaries of the reservation and into Oregon.

"[S]tate courts may exercise jurisdiction in civil cases involving Native Americans and relating to conduct that extends beyond the reservation's boundaries," the court wrote, citing a U.S. Supreme Court decision from 1977.

"It is undisputed that defendant's place of business is physically located on tribal territory in New York," the court stated. "Furthermore, defendant does not personally leave his place of business when he accepts and fills orders for cigarettes."

"However, defendant's Internet websites are accessible in Oregon He accepts cigarette orders by telephone and through the Internet from customers who receive his offer when they are in Oregon, accept that offer by placing their orders while in Oregon, and receive the unlisted cigarettes in Oregon," the court continued. "Thus, contrary to his assertion, defendant's activities reach beyond the reservation boundaries and into Oregon."

Get the Story:
Oregon court upholds Web cigarette sale regulation (AP 5/13)
Press Release: State of Oregon, Plaintiff-Respondent, and Hardy Myers, Attorney General for the State of Oregon, Plaintiff, v. Scott Maybee, dba buycheapcigarettes.com, dba smartsmoker.com, dba ordersmokesdirect.com, Defendant-Appellant (Oregon Court of Appeals 5/12)

Oregon Court of Appeals Decision:
Oregon v. Maybee (May 12, 2010)

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