Case Summary Citation
Lewis v. Clarke, 135 A.3d 677 (Conn. 2016).
The nation to nation relationship between tribes and the federal government is unique. Within that relationship, the federal government acknowledges and respects tribal sovereignty. An important aspect of sovereignty is sovereign immunity. Lewis v. Clarke confronts the applicability of sovereign immunity through an extension of tribal sovereignty over an employee defendant. After having heard oral argument, the United States Supreme Court could either reaffirm or severely limit the applicability of tribal sovereign immunity to “arms” of a tribe. While the lower court analyzed tribal sovereign immunity by considering the damages sought, the Supreme Court opinion portends to extend far beyond just this negligence claim.