CASE NO. 2082 CRB-2-94-6
COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION
OCTOBER 30, 1997
CASSIUS C. SPEARS
LAKE SPEARS d/b/a LAKE SPEARS MASONRY
SECOND INJURY FUND
MANAFORT BROTHERS, INC.
TRANSAMERICA INSURANCE SERVICES
C. R. KLEWIN, INC.
CNA INSURANCE COMPANY
MASHANTUCKET PEQUOT SAND & GRAVEL
WAUSAU INSURANCE CO.
MASHANTUCKET PEQUOT TRIBAL COUNCIL
The claimant was represented by Dennis A. Ferdon, Esq., Anderson, Laffey, Eckert & Ferdon, P.C., Thames Plaza, 101 Water St., Norwich, CT 06360.
The respondent Lake Spears d/b/a Lake Spears Masonry was represented by Michael D. Colonese, Esq., Brown, Jacobson, Tillinghast, Lahan & King, P.C., 22 Courthouse Square, Norwich, CT 06360.
The respondents Manafort Brothers and Transamerica Insurance Companies were represented by William Brown, Esq., McGann, Bartlett & Brown, 281 Hartford Tpke., Vernon, CT 06066.
The respondents C. R. Klewin, Inc. and CNA Insurance Companies were represented by Cori-Lynn S. Webber, Esq., Law Offices of Grant H. Miller, Jr., 29 South Main St., West Hartford, CT 06107-2445. It appears that the respondents Manafort Brothers and Transcontinental were also represented by Attorney Webber in these proceedings.
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council and Wausau Insurance Companies as Amicus Curiae were represented by Steven G. Ekern, Esq., Pomeranz, Drayton & Stabnick, 95 Glastonbury Blvd., Glastonbury, CT 06033-4412.
The respondents Mashantucket Pequot Sand & Gravel and Wausau Insurance Companies were represented by James Powers, Esq., 639 Research Parkway, Meriden, CT 06450.
The Second Injury Fund was represented by William McCullough, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, 55 Elm St., P. O. Box 120, Hartford, CT 06141-0120.
This Petition for Review from the June 16, 1994 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Second District was heard April 7, 1995, and reargued on October 27, 1995, before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman Jesse M. Frankl and Commissioners Roberta Smith Tracy and Amado J. Vargas.
ROBERTA SMITH TRACY, COMMISSIONER. The claimant has petitioned for review from the June 16, 1994 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner for the Second District. He argues on appeal that the trial commissioner erroneously concluded that she did not have jurisdiction to consider his workers’ compensation claim. We reverse the trial commissioner’s decision.
The claimant, Cassius Spears, is a Narragansett Indian and a resident of the state of Rhode Island. He claims to have been injured on November 6, 1993, when he fell off a roof in the course of his employment with the respondent Lake Spears Masonry.1 Lake Spears Masonry is a business operated out of the home of Lake and Keri Spears, which is located on the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Reservation in Ledyard. The commissioner found that Lake Spears Masonry is “either a sole proprietorship of Lake Spears (Claimant’s position), or as Lake Spears testified, a partnership between Lake Spears and Keri Spears, his wife.” She also found that Keri Spears is a member of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe who has resided on the reservation with her husband Lake for at least ten years. No finding was made as to the tribal affiliation of Lake Spears; however, it is undisputed that he is a Narragansett Indian, as well as the uncle of the claimant.2
The trial commissioner found that the claimant admitted his injury occurred on the Mashantucket Pequot reservation, which is a sovereign nation under the laws of Connecticut and the United States. She also found that the claimant testified that over fifty percent of his employment was on the reservation, and that there was conflicting testimony as to whether the claimant obtained his employment by calling from his home in Rhode Island to Lake Spears’ home, or by personally visiting the Spears residence on the reservation. She concluded that, as a matter of law, the claimant was not an “employee” under our Workers’ Compensation Act because he was not a Connecticut resident, did not suffer an injury in Connecticut, and worked for an alleged employer whose principal place of business was not in Connecticut. The claimant seeks review of that decision and the commissioner’s subsequent denial of his Motion to Correct.3
The first argument we address is the claimant’s contention that the commissioner erred in refusing to accept the withdrawal of his concession that the injury occurred on the Mashantucket Pequot reservation. At the July 9, 1994 formal hearing, the claimant’s counsel admitted that the injury occurred on the reservation. (Transcript, p. 14.) He immediately added, however, his claim that Lake Spears resided in Connecticut, because he is not a member of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe. This issue was addressed by opposing counsel as well, and did not appear to be conceded either way. (Id., p. 22-23). The claimant notified all parties one week later that he wished to withdraw his concession that the injury did not occur in the state of Connecticut because “the reservation of the Mashantucket Pequots is tantamount to the State of Connecticut in the scenario that exists in this case.” (Claimant’s brief, p. 15.) He claims that the commissioner erroneously based her decision on his concession that the injury did not occur in Connecticut, and that he should be allowed to introduce evidence of the withdrawal of his concession.
With respect to admissions obtained by a party pursuant to written request, Practice Book § 240 provides that such matters are “conclusively established unless the court on motion permits withdrawal or amendment of the admission.” That section deals with civil actions in superior court, where the rules of pleading and procedure are more complicated than those in the workers’ compensation forum. Nevertheless, we note that our Supreme Court has stated that “[i]f a party . . . unequivocally concedes a fact, such concession for the purposes of the trial, has the force of a judicial admission, and a party is bound thereby unless the court, in its reasonable discretion, allows the concession to be later withdrawn, explained, or modified, if it appears to have been made by improvidence or mistake.” Dreier v. Upjohn Co., 196 Conn. 242, 248-49 n. 2, quoting Kanopka v. Kanopka, 113 Conn. 30, 39 (1931). Where a party concedes a fact in workers’ compensation proceedings, we favor the application of a similar rule.
We do not think, however, that much of an issue actually exists regarding this particular “admission.” The claimant’s focus on the finding that the claimant was injured on the reservation is misplaced, as there is no dispute surrounding the fact that the injury occurred within the physical boundaries of the reservation. The claimant’s concern with respect to this finding is purely a legal issue, and not susceptible to judicial admission: i.e., does the status of Lake Spears as a Narragansett Indian rather than a Mashantucket Pequot place Lake Spears Masonry within the statutory definition of “employer” in § 31-275? The trial commissioner’s decision was based on legal analysis, and would not have been affected by the retraction of the claimant’s “admission.” Likewise, our appellate review does not depend on its withdrawal. Thus, the commissioner did not commit error by failing to recognize the withdrawal of the claimant’s “admission.”
We next proceed with our investigation of the legal issue at the heart of this case: the scope of this board’s jurisdiction over workers’ compensation claims arising on the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Reservation. Just as a trial court has the power to determine its own jurisdiction over a claim, see Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe of Indians v. Southbury, 231 Conn. 563, 570 (1995), this Commission has the power to determine whether it should exercise jurisdiction in accordance with the Workers’ Compensation Act, and has often done so. See, e.g., Crouch v. Hayner Hoyt Corp., 14 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 143, 1824 CRB-1-93-8 (June 20, 1995). The issue raised here, however, is one of first impression before this tribunal: whether our jurisdiction extends to claims arising on an Indian reservation located within the boundaries of this state.
The status of Native American tribal lands located inside the borders of the United States is not simple to define. Although Indian reservations are sovereign nations for some purposes, they do not possess the full attributes of territorial sovereignty enjoyed by foreign countries or the several states. White Mountain Apache Tribe v. Bracker, 448 U.S. 136, 142 (1980); Washington v. Confederated Tribes of Colville, 447 U.S. 134, 165 (1980) (Brennan, J., dissenting). Rather, the tribes have been described as “a separate people, with the power of regulating their internal and social relations, and thus far not brought under the laws of the Union or of the State within whose limits they reside.” White Mountain Apache Tribe, supra, quoting United States v. Kagama, 118 U.S. 375, 381-82 (1886). The right of tribal self-government is ultimately subject to the power of the United States Congress. White Mountain Apache Tribe, supra, 143. There is no rigid rule regarding the applicability of state law to tribal members, but federal law often determines to what degree, if any, a state may apply its laws to conduct occurring on an Indian reservation. Negonsott v. Samuels, 507 U.S. 99, 102-103 (1993); California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, 480 U.S. 202, 207 (1987).
Federal recognition of the Mashantucket Pequot reservation was established in 1983 via the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Land Claims Settlement Act, now codified at 25 U.S.C. §§ 1751-1760.4 Section 1755 of that title provides, “[n]otwithstanding the provision relating to a special election in section 406 of the Act of April 11, 1968 (82 Stat. 80, 25 U.S.C. 1326), the reservation of the Tribe is declared to be Indian country subject to State jurisdiction to the maximum extent provided in title IV of such Act.” The 1968 Act referred to in § 1755 concerns the assumption by states of jurisdiction over criminal offenses5 and civil causes of action6 involving Indians and Indian lands, and contains a provision explaining how tribal members may consent to such jurisdiction.7 25 U.S.C. §§ 1321-1322, 1326.
Recently, our Supreme Court had the chance to interpret § 1755 in State v. Spears, 234 Conn. 78 (1995), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___ (Dec. 4, 1995). The jurisdictional issue there was over a criminal matter, as the defendant (who is, coincidentally, the alleged employer in these proceedings) had been convicted in Superior Court of several crimes committed at his home on the Mashantucket Pequot reservation. Noting that § 1755 provides for state jurisdiction “notwithstanding the provision relating to a special election in [§ 1326],” the Spears court rejected the defendant’s contention that an abstract consent requirement outside of § 1326 was still a prerequisite to the assumption of jurisdiction over crimes committed on the reservation. Id., 88. The Court instead held that the state of Connecticut automatically assumed criminal jurisdiction over the reservation upon passage of the 1983 Settlement Act, relying on principles of statutory construction and the legislative history of the Act to reach its decision. Id., 91-94. In dicta, the Court also explained that the Pequots’ own tribal ordinances illustrated their understanding that the state had criminal jurisdiction pursuant to § 1755. Id., 94-96.
Even though state criminal jurisdiction is discussed in § 1321 and state civil jurisdiction in § 1322, we cannot escape the applicability of our Supreme Court’s reasoning in Spears to the latter provision as well as the former. There is no reasonable basis under Spears for distinguishing the two sections with respect to the removal of the tribal consent requirement in § 1755. Thus, the state of Connecticut must have jurisdiction over the Pequot reservation to the maximum extent provided in § 1322 as well as § 1321. This does not mean, however, that § 1322 necessarily contemplates the application of the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Act to the Mashantucket Pequots.
Section 1322(a) allows a state to assume jurisdiction over civil causes of action involving Indians that arise in areas of Indian country, and allows a state to apply its civil laws that are of general application to private persons or private property within such Indian country. The language in § 1322(a) is virtually identical to language found in 28 U.S.C. § 1360(a), which makes the same jurisdictional grant to six specific states (not including Connecticut). A county in one of those states, Minnesota, attempted to assess personal property tax liability for the year 1972 on a mobile home owned by a Chippewa Indian and located on the Chippewas’ Leech Lake Reservation. The issue eventually reached the United States Supreme Court, which held that § 1360(a) did not authorize such a tax.
The Court stated that the statute seemed to be “primarily intended to redress the lack of adequate Indian forums for resolving private legal disputes between reservation Indians, and between Indians and other private citizens, by permitting the courts of the States to decide such disputes.” Bryan v. Itasca County, 426 U.S. 373, 383 (1976). The legislative history contained nothing suggestive of an intent to confer general state civil regulatory control over Indian reservations. Id., 384. Furthermore, the Court noted that Indian tribes could be converted into little more than private, voluntary organizations if their governments were “subordinated to the full panoply of civil regulatory powers, including taxation, of state and local governments.” Id., 388. Total assimilation of the Indians into American society was not thought to be the intent of Congress. The Court reaffirmed its policy of liberally construing statutes passed for Indian tribes, with doubtful expressions being resolved in the tribes’ favor, and held that the power to tax the Indian tribes could not properly be inferred from such an ambiguous statute. Id., 392-93.
We believe that the similarity of the language used by Congress in 25 U.S.C. § 1322 to the language used in 28 U.S.C. § 1360 is significant. There is no reason for this Board to assume that Congress intended a broader jurisdictional grant in § 1322 than it did in § 1360, as the policies cited by the Supreme Court in Bryan, supra, would apply to both statutes equally. See also California, supra, 208-10. The Connecticut Supreme Court has also adopted the policy of resolving statutory ambiguities against state assumption of jurisdiction over Indian tribes. Schaghticoke Indians of Kent, Connecticut, Inc. v. Potter, 217 Conn. 612, 630 (1991). Thus, this board construes § 1322 as having the same limitations as does § 1360 regarding the scope of the jurisdictional grant Congress gave to the states over civil causes of action.
The next question necessarily becomes whether the Workers’ Compensation Act falls within the scope of § 1322(a). The United States Supreme Court has stated that a law that is civil in nature is applicable to an Indian reservation under § 1360 only insofar as it is relevant to private civil litigation in state court. California, supra, 208. Our Workers’ Compensation Act clearly qualifies as a civil/regulatory law rather than a criminal/ prohibitory law under the test enunciated in California, supra, 209, and in Bryan, supra, 372-73. See Tibbetts v. Leech Lake Reservation Business, 397 N.W.2d 883, 887 (Minn. 1986) (Minnesota Workmen’s Compensation Act is a civil regulatory law imposing obligations and liabilities upon employers and employees regulating not only the forum and its procedures, but substantive legal issues as well).
Although the Workers’ Compensation Act is relevant to private civil litigation in that it defines the rights of employer and employee, it does not merely lay the framework for a civil cause of action. The Act instead creates a substitute, no-fault system of compensation for injured employees that is administered outside the Connecticut judicial system. This substituted system of compensation displaces the employee’s right to sue his employer in state court, and creates a number of requirements for employers subject to the Act, including the procurement of workers’ compensation insurance. Section 31-284 C.G.S. As the Minnesota Supreme Court noted in Tibbetts, supra, a workers’ compensation statute does much more than provide an alternate forum in which to litigate claims: it redefines the substantive rights of the parties. We would be ignoring the far-reaching effects of the Workers’ Compensation Act if we were to hold that the narrow jurisdictional grant in § 1322(a) included such a broad regulatory statute as the Act. Thus, we conclude that the State of Connecticut does not have sufficient jurisdiction under § 1322(a) to apply its Workers’ Compensation Act to the Pequot reservation.
This is not the end of the matter, however. Another potential source of jurisdiction for this Commission is 40 U.S.C. § 290, which provides that the authority charged with enforcing each state’s workers’ compensation law “hereafter shall have the power and authority to apply such laws to all lands and premises owned or held by the United States of America . . . in the same way and to the same extent as if said premises were under the exclusive jurisdiction of the State within whose exterior boundaries such place may be.”
Several courts have discussed the applicability of this statute to Indian reservations, whose land is held in trust by the United States. The Ninth Circuit has said that § 290 “unambiguously permits application of state workers’ compensation laws to all United States territory within the state. Claims by Indians against non-Indian employers are not matters of ‘self-governance in purely intramural matters’ sufficient to avoid the rule that Indians are subject to such federal laws of general application.” Begay v. Kerr-McGee Corp., 682 F.2d 1311, 1319 (1982). This view has been echoed by the Arizona Court of Appeals, which held that the Arizona Workmen’s Compensation Act applied to a non-Indian contractor who employed a Navajo Indian to work in a mine on the Navajo reservation. Johnson v. Kerr-McGee Oil Industries, Inc., 631 P.2d 548 (Ariz. App. 1981), appeal dismissed for want of substantial federal question, 454 U.S. 1025 (1981).
On the other hand, the same Arizona court has also held that § 290 does not abrogate the sovereign immunity of an Indian tribe despite the statute’s attempt to apply state workers’ compensation law to federal enclaves. White Mountain Apache Tribe v. Industrial Commission, 696 P.2d 223, 228 (Ariz. App. 1985); see also Swatzell v. Industrial Commission, 277 P.2d 244 (Ariz. 1954). A similar result was reached in Tibbets, supra, where the Supreme Court of Minnesota stated that § 290 “simply cannot be read to confer upon states jurisdiction over otherwise immune or exempt parties. . . . The sole objective of the statute was to close a gap that prevented states from exercising workers’ compensation jurisdiction over work-related injury causing accidents occurring on federal lands.” Id., 888. The consensus among the courts seems to be that § 290 applies to Indian reservations unless another reason for exempting an employer, e.g., sovereign immunity, is present.
Though we are not bound by the holding of the Ninth Circuit or by the decisions of other states’ courts, we believe that those opinions are well-reasoned. Therefore, we conclude that § 290 also gives the State of Connecticut the “power and authority” to apply its workers’ compensation laws to the Mashantucket Pequot reservation, subject to the standard defenses of immunity or exemption. The territory of the reservation must be considered a part of Connecticut for the purposes of the Workers’ Compensation Act.
In the instant case, while the claimant is a Narragansett Indian and a resident of the state of Rhode Island, he was allegedly injured while in the course of employment at Lake Spears Masonry, a business owned and operated by his uncle, Lake Spears, and possibly Lake Spears’ wife, Keri, a member of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe. This business is conducted out of the home of Lake and Keri Spears, which is located on the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Reservation. As such, the claimant is not excluded from the Act’s definition of “employee” by § 31-275(9)(B)(vi), because his place of employment must be regarded as being in this state. The law of Cleveland v. U.S. Printing Ink, 218 Conn. 181 (1991), still applies, and subject matter jurisdiction over the claim would exist based on the situs of the injury. Id., 195; see also Romanella v. Hayward, Libby & The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, No. 3:95 CV 726 (D. Conn. July 31, 1996) (district court granted motion to dismiss casino employee’s diversity action against tribe and tribal members; although employee was a Rhode Island resident, and tribal members were residents of Connecticut, the tribe itself is neither a citizen of any state or a foreign state under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 for diversity jurisdiction purposes). Accordingly, the trial commissioner’s dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is reversed.
Because she concluded that this Commission lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the instant claim on its face, the trial commissioner did not make factual findings regarding the relationship between the parties and the merits of the case, nor did she consider any other defenses to the claim. We thus can proceed no further on review. This case must be remanded to the trial commissioner for further proceedings.
Commissioner Amado J. Vargas concurs.
JESSE M. FRANKL, CHAIRMAN, DISSENTING. Although I agree with much of the analysis of the majority, I part company upon its conclusion that our Workers’ Compensation Act extends to the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation on the basis of 40 U.S.C. § 290. I do not think that 40 U.S.C. § 290 should be read as broadly as the majority concludes. As the Supreme Court in Minnesota in Tibbetts v. Leech Lake Reservation Business Committee, 397 N.W.2d 883 (Minn. 1986) noted, “[t]he sole objective of the statute [40 U.S.C. § 290] was to close a gap that prevented states from exercising workers’ compensation jurisdiction over work-related injury causing accidents occurring on federal lands.” Id. at 888.8 As the Tibbetts court noted, I do not believe applying our Workers’ Compensation Act on the basis of a federal law intended to protect laborers and mechanics working on federal lands is consistent with the purpose of 40 U.S.C. § 290 or public policy regarding Indian matters. That public policy was summarized by the United States Supreme Court in Iowa Mutual Insurance Co. v. LaPlante, 480 U.S. 9, 14, 107 S.Ct. 971, 975 (1987) as:
We have repeatedly recognized the Federal Government’s long-standing policy of encouraging tribal self-government. See, e.g., Three Affiliated Tribes v. Wold Engineering, 476 U.S. 877, 890, 106 S.Ct. 2305, 2313, 90 L.Ed.2d 881 (1986); Merrion v. Jicarilla Apache Tribe, 455 U.S. 130, 138, n.5, 102 S.Ct. 894, 902, n. 5, 71 L.Ed.2d 21 (1982); White Mountain Apache Tribe v. Bracker, 448 U.S. 136, 143-144, and n. 10, 65 L.Ed.2d 665 (1980); Williams v. Lee, 358 U.S. 217, 220-221, 79 S.Ct. 269, 270-71, 3 L.Ed.2d 251 (1959). This policy reflects the fact that Indian tribes retain “attributes of sovereignty over both their members and their territory” United States v. Mazurie, 419 U.S. 544, 557, 95 S.Ct. 710, 717, 42 L.Ed.2d 706 (1975), to the extent that sovereignty has not been withdrawn by federal statute or treaty. The federal policy favoring tribal self-government operates even in areas where state control has not been affirmatively pre-empted by federal statute. “[A]bsent governing Acts of Congress, the question has always been whether the state action infringed on the right of reservation Indians to make their own laws and be ruled by them.” Williams v. Lee, supra, 358 U.S. at 220, 79 S.Ct. at 271.
Iowa Mut. Ins. Co., supra at 480 U.S. at 14, 107 S.Ct.at 975.
In the instant matter, we are presented with a personal injury alleged to have occurred in the course of employment on the Mashantucket Pequot reservation. At the time of oral argument, or rather to be more accurate, reargument, it was unclear what remedies were available to the claimant under tribal law. In the period following our hearing in this matter, it has become apparent that the Mashantucket Pequot tribe intends to provide its own remedy for such personal injuries and in fact may permit action in the tribal court for damages sustained in the manner of the circumstances at hand. Without a clear indication from either Congress or the tribe itself, I do not think our Workers’ Compensation Act applies to work related injuries occurring on a recognized reservation, for, as the majority noted, our state’s Workers’ Compensation Act is regulatory in nature.
Furthermore, §47-59a(b) C.G.S. provides in pertinent part:
The state of Connecticut further recognizes that the indigenous tribes, the Schaghticoke, the Paucatuck Eastern Pequot, The Mashantucket Pequot, the Mohegan and the Golden Hill Paugusset are self-governing entities possessing powers and duties over tribal members and reservation. Such powers and duties include the power to: (1) Determine tribal membership and residency on reservation land; (2) determine the tribal form of government; (3) regulate trade and commerce on the reservation; (4) make contracts, and (5) determine tribal leadership in accordance with tribal practice and usage. (Emphasis ours.)
See also Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe of Indians v. Southbury, 231 Conn. 563 (1995).
Therefore, on the basis of § 47-59a(b) C.G.S.’s provision that the Mashantucket Peqout tribe is self-governing as to matters of regulation of trade and commerce, public policy, and what I believe is the inapplicability of 40 U.S.C. § 290, I would conclude jurisdiction over this matter lies with the Mashantucket Pequot tribal court.
1 Although not at issue in these proceedings, Lake Spears contests both the existence of an employer-employee relationship between himself and the claimant and the occurrence of the injury in the first place. BACK TO TEXT
2 The claimant filed a Motion to Correct seeking, among other corrections, the addition of a finding that Lake Spears is a Narragansett Indian who does not live on the Narragansett reservation in Rhode Island. The commissioner denied the Motion to Correct in its entirety. We assume that she denied that correction because it appeared to her to be immaterial to the outcome of her decision. See Plitnick v. Knoll Pharmaceuticals, 13 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 26, 27-28, 1699 CRB-8-93-4 (Nov. 7, 1994). However, the fact that Lake Spears is a Narragansett Indian is conceded by the respondents; see Brief of The Respondents C.R. Klewin and the CNA Insurance Companies, p. 2; Amicus Curiae Brief of Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council and Wausau Insurance Companies, p. 7; and has been stipulated to in a recent Supreme Court decision involving Lake Spears as well. State v. Spears, 234 Conn. 78, 81 (1995), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___ (Dec. 4, 1995). Because that fact may prove relevant later in these proceedings, we set it forth in our opinion. BACK TO TEXT
3 The respondents have filed a Motion to Dismiss the claimant’s appeal based on his failure to file timely reasons of appeal, which were due on October 31, 1994, but not filed until March 6, 1995. Although the motion purports to be based on Practice Book § 4055, the claimant correctly points out that it is in fact based on “failure to file papers within the time allowed,” a ground for dismissal contemplated by Practice Book § 4056. That section requires a motion to be filed within ten days after the ground for dismissal has arisen. Because the respondents’ motion to dismiss was not filed until March 23, 1995, it is hereby denied. BACK TO TEXT
4 The State of Connecticut has also recognized the indigenous Indian tribes of the state, including the Mashantucket Pequots, as “self-governing entities possessing powers and duties over tribal members and reservations.” P.A. 89-368, § 16. codified at § 47-59a(b) C.G.S. Included among their enumerated powers are the power to regulate trade and commerce on the reservation, and the power to make contracts. BACK TO TEXT
5 25 U.S.C. § 1321(a) provides: “The consent of the United States is hereby given to any State not having jurisdiction over criminal offenses committed by or against Indians in the areas of Indian country situated within such State to assume, with the consent of the Indian tribe occupying the particular Indian country or part thereof which could be affected by such assumption, such measure of jurisdiction over any or all of such offenses committed within such Indian country or any part thereof as may be determined by such State to the same extent that such State has jurisdiction over any such offense committed elsewhere within the State, and the criminal laws of such State shall have the same force and effect within such Indian country or part thereof as they have elsewhere within that State.” BACK TO TEXT
6 25 U.S.C. § 1322(a) provides: “The consent of the United States is hereby given to any State not having jurisdiction over civil causes of action between Indians or to which Indians are parties which arise in the areas of Indian country situated within such State to assume, with the consent of the tribe occupying the particular Indian country or part thereof which would be affected by such assumption, such measure of jurisdiction over any or all of such civil causes of action arising within such Indian country or any part thereof as may be determined by such State to the same extent that such State has jurisdiction over other civil causes of action, and those civil laws of such State that are of general application to private persons or private property shall have the same force and effect within such Indian country or part thereof as they have elsewhere within that State.” BACK TO TEXT
7 25 U.S.C. § 1326 provides: “State jurisdiction acquired pursuant to this title with respect to criminal offenses or civil causes of action, or with respect to both, shall be applicable in Indian country only where the enrolled Indians within the affected area of such Indian country accept such jurisdiction by a majority vote of the adult Indians voting at a special election held for that purpose. The Secretary of the Interior shall call such special election under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe, when requested to do so by the tribal council or other governing body, or by 20 per centum of such enrolled adults.” BACK TO TEXT
8 In Tibbetts v. Leech Lake Reservation Business Committee, 397 N.W.2d 883, 887-88 (Minn. 1986) the court referred to Swatzell v. Industrial Commission, 78 Ariz. 149, 277 P.2d 244 (1954) in which the Supreme Court of Arizona observed that the wording of the statute [40 U.S.C. § 290] failed to clearly manifest any intention to include Indian activities within its scope. Moreover, the Swatzell court noted that an examination of the Senate Committee Report corroborated its conclusions:
An examination of Senate Committee Report accompanying this Act. S.R. No. 2294, 74th Congress, 2d Session, reveals that such was not the intention of the Congress. Rather, it there appears that:
The purpose of the amended bill is to fill a conspicuous gap in the workermen’s compensation field by furnishing protection against death or disability to laborers and mechanics employed by contractors or others persons on Federal property. The United States Employees’ Compensation Act covers only persons directly by the Federal Government.
Id. at 154, 277 P.2d at 248.
Tibbetts, supra, 888. BACK TO TEXT