U.S. Tenth Circuit - The FindLaw 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Indian Tribe Lawsuit Regarding Cigarette Taxation Barred By Sovereign Immunity, and Civil Procedure Matter

Muscogee (Creek) Nation v. Okla. Tax. Comm., No. 09-5123, concerned an action by an Indian tribe challenging Oklahoma's seizure of cigarettes failing to bear a tax stamp from the tribe.  The court of appeals affirmed the dismissal of the action on the ground that sovereign immunity barred plaintiff's claims because plaintiff, in effect, sought to render nugatory, via the Fourth Amendment, the state's cigarette tax enforcement scheme as an affront to Indian sovereignty.

Lorillard Tobacco Co. v. Engida, No. 08-1037, involved plaintiff's appeal from the district court's order granting attorney's fees to defendant under the Lanham Act's fee provision, 15 U.S.C. section 1117(a), and alternatively under section 13-17-102 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.  The court of appeals reversed on the ground that defendant was not a prevailing party because plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the case without prejudice and without a court order under Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(1)(A)(i).

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