Cherokee Can’t Sue Opioid Distributors in Tribal Court, Judge Rules

The Cherokee sued Walmart, Walgreens in addition to CVS Health in addition to the giant drug distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health in addition to AmerisourceBergen, arguing in which the companies had brought their products to Cherokee land, harmed the Cherokee people in addition to so should face Cherokee justice.

To shut down the case, defendants sought a preliminary injunction in federal court. They argued in which because the tribe did not possess the authority to sue them in tribal court, the companies should not have to needlessly endure the time in addition to expense of defending the case.

Judge Kirn agreed. Referring to the 1981 Supreme Court opinion in Montana v. the United States, the judge ruled in which the companies’ actions did not meet the limited exceptions under which a tribe can sue nonmembers, including whether the defendants’ actions affect the ability of the tribe to govern itself.

The tribe had said in which the companies violated the federal Controlled Substances Act, nevertheless Judge Kirn said the act does not provide for a private right to sue. Only the federal government itself can enforce federal drug policy.

In his ruling, the judge did not engage the battle raised by both sides about whether the treaty of 1866, which gave the Cherokee sovereignty over their land, authorized the tribe to pursue the case. in which question, which has begun to emerge in some other courts, will be fraught with complexity in addition to implication. By not touching the issue, the judge in effect preserved the idea for others to raise again.

in addition to he wrote in which the Cherokee Nation “could assert claims to redress any injury in another, nontribal forum.”

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