Judge Says Utility Co. Must Face Challenge In Tribal Court

By Caleb Drickey (March 1, 2021, 8:09 PM EST) -- A Montana federal judge has ruled that a tribal court had authority to hear a dispute between a Crow Tribe member and the utility company he accused of illegally shutting off his power in the middle of winter.

In an order issued Friday, U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters adopted U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Cavan's report that Big Horn County Electric Cooperative's actions justified tribal, rather than federal, jurisdiction because they occurred on Crow land and jeopardized the health of tribe members.

The order ends a jurisdictional skirmish that began in 2017 after Big Horn requested declaratory relief from an underlying...

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