Luckerman v. Narragansett Indian Tribe

Filing 61

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER denying 55 Appeal of Magistrate Judge Decision to District Court filed by Douglas J. Luckerman. So Ordered by Chief Judge William E. Smith on 12/22/2016. (Jackson, Ryan)

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF RHODE ISLAND ___________________________________ ) DOUGLAS J. LUCKERMAN, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) C.A. No. 13-185 S ) NARRAGANSETT INDIAN TRIBE, ) ) Defendant. ) ___________________________________) MEMORANDUM AND ORDER WILLIAM E. SMITH, United States District Judge. Plaintiff represented brought suit Douglas Defendant against Luckerman, Narragansett the Tribe an attorney Indian for who Tribe breach of formerly (“Tribe”), contract. (Complaint, ECF No. 1.) This Court determined that the doctrine of tribal exhaustion applied to Plaintiff’s claim and stayed that action pending consideration by the Tribal Court. (ECF No. 16.) Plaintiff has filed a Motion to Vacate, arguing that “[i]t has now become clear that the Tribe does not have a properly constituted and functioning tribal court . . . .” (Pl.’s Mot. 1, ECF No. 45.) Magistrate Judge Almond denied Plaintiff’s Motion without prejudice. (Mem. and Order, ECF No. 53.) Plaintiff has now filed an Objection to Magistrate Judge Almond’s decision. (ECF No. 55.)1 Where, as here, the Court is confronted with an Objection to a Magistrate Judge’s ruling on a non-dispositive matter, the Court will “modify or set aside any part of the order that is clearly erroneous or is contrary to law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 72. Having reviewed Magistrate Judge Almond’s Memorandum and Order, as well as the Parties’ submissions, the Court finds no such error. Contrary to Plaintiff’s arguments, Magistrate Judge Almond did address the issue of whether the Tribal Court is functioning and capable of addressing the matter before it. Magistrate Judge Almond specifically determined that Plaintiff had not made a “sufficient showing” that “the Tribe does not have a properly constituted or functioning Tribal Court.” (Mem. and Order 3, ECF No. 53; see also id. n.3.) Based on the evidence in the record, the Court finds that Magistrate Judge Almond’s determination is neither “clearly erroneous” nor “contrary to law.” Plaintiff’s Objection (ECF No. 55) is DENIED. IT IS SO ORDERED. William E. Smith United States District Judge Date: December 22, 2016 Defendant has submitted a Response to that Objection (ECF No. 59), and Plaintiff has submitted a Reply (ECF No. 60). 1 2

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