Tribe defies subpoena in $5 million lawsuit
A federal court judge in Great Falls is weighing opposing legal arguments on whether tribal officials must comply with subpoenas demanding access to tribal government documents, or whether Indian tribes are immune from court orders to produce evidence because they are sovereign nations.
This dispute came to a head based upon a lawsuit filed by Terryl Matt, a Cut Bank attorney and enrolled member of the Assiniboine Tribe of Montana. Matt is suing the Bureau of Indian Affairs for more that $5 million in compensation for alleged damages that occurred when the BIA built a new road across Matt’s property. The road building project took place following widespread flooding on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in June 2011.