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William C. Altreuter
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Friday, January 13, 2006

This Salon article about the difficulties a group of sexual harrasment plaintiff's are experiencing suing a Native American casino plays the story for its tawdry aspects, which is fine, because it makes it a good read. The point it is making, however, is an important point-- when you cede property to a sovereign nation, what happens there really does stay there. As it happens we represent a personal injury plaintiff in a claim against the Niagara Falls casino, and while I suppose their system would qualify as due process, it probably could be held up as an example of what the barest minimum for due process looks like. The system has short deadlines to make a claim, the rules are buried deep in the Seneca Nation's website, with no external links on the homepage; they are not to be found on Westlaw or in any library that I could locate. Claims are limited to provable economic damage only-- no pain and suffering, so too bad for you, retired people who make up the majority of the trade if you fall and get hurt. The opportunity to testify is at the sole discretion of the Seneca tribunal. I could go on.

I suppose its true that the Native Americans got screwed over, back in the day. Let me tell you, though, inch by inch they are going to get their own back. It'll take time, but we are just stupid enough to turn our cities over to them, and then all bets will be off.

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