The Miccosukee Indian Village in Florida. Photo: El Gringo

Miccosukee Tribe can't be sued by attorneys who received $4 million settlement

The Miccosukee Tribe can't be sued by two of its former attorneys, an appeals court in Florida ruled.

Sovereign immunity protects the tribe from being sued without its consent, the Third District Court of Appeal said on Wednesday. The decision was unanimous but it came after the tribe already paid a $4 million settlement to attorneys Guy Lewis and Michael Tein.

Lewis and Tein represented the tribe during some high-profile legal affairs before their relationship soured amid accusations of malpractice. They had accused the tribe and a subsequent attorney, Bernardo Roman, of ruining their reputations.

“The tribe built the bonfire and Mr. Roman ... poured kerosine on it on a daily basis,” Tein told a judge last month in proceedings that could lead to Roman being disbarred in Florida, The Miami Herald reported.

The tribe eventually fired Roman. Its relationship with yet another attorney, Dexter Lehtinen, also broke down amid claims of bad advice.

Read More on the Story:
Miccosukee Tribe can’t be sued by former lawyers, appeals courts rules in bitter legal battle (The Miami Herald August 9, 2017)
Miccosukee tribal lawyer should be permanently disbarred over bogus lawsuits, judge hears (The Miami Herald July 7, 2017)

Third District Court of Appeal Decision:
Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida v. Tein (August 9, 2017)

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