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Decisions on a Class Action Matter and Whether an Indian Tribe is Subject to OSHA

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By FindLaw Staff on March 24, 2010 3:30 PM

Today, the Seventh Circuit decided a case involving an Indian tribe's sawmill operations on its reservation and whether it was subject to OSHA review, and another case involving the issue of whether a litigant who initiates a lawsuit in state court can remove the case after becoming a counterclaim defendant.

In Menominee Tribal Enter. v. Solis, No. 09-2806, the court addressed an Indian Tribe's petition for reivew of an order of the Occupations Safety and Health Review Commission, citing the tribe for violations of OSHA in operation of a sawmill on its reservation.  The OSHA contains an express exemption for the federal government and for state and local governments, but says nothing about Indian tribes.  Furthermore, the Act does not interfere with tribal governance nor does the Act clash with rights granted Indians by other statutes or by treaties with Indian tribes.  Therefore, the sawmill and related commercial activities of the Menominees' enterprise are subject to OSHA.

In First Bank v. DJL Prop., LLC., No. 10-8008, the court faced a challenge to the district court's decision to remand plaintiff's case to state court after plaintiff had removed the case under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 in response to defendant's counterclaim.  In granting the plaintiff's petition, the court held that the district court was correct to remand the suit as a litigant who initially chooses a state forum cannot remove even after becoming a counterclaim defendant., in accordance with the holding in Shamrock Oil.  

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