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Litigation threatens Michigan casino

Even though the Gun Lake Casino, located in Wayland Township, Michigan, has been open since February of 2011, complex litigation is threatening to shut it down already. Now, high court judges must try to determine whether the opposing party has a legitimate case, specially after he waited so long to act against the casino.

Even Supreme Court justices voiced their concerns over the case recently, saying that it might be considered somewhat of a waste of time.

While the justices did not come out and say that the case carried no merit, they had a hard time justifying shutting down a casino that had already opened. This was especially true because the man that brought the lawsuit waited three years to do so, long after plans had been announced and the building has been constructed, the justices said.

A man had filed the lawsuit to have the casino shut down. He argued that the tribe that opened it -- a local band of Pottawatomi Indians -- was not recognized by the federal government when the Indian Reorganization Act was passed in 1934.

The tribe obtained the land through a trust from the government, and because they were not recognized during this pivotal time in history, the man argued that they did not have the rights to it. He also argued that the casino would compromise the safety and overall aesthetics of the area in Wayland Township.

The man's attorney argued that he already brought the lawsuit forth before the casino opened and before the land was put into the trust for the tribe.

Initially, a federal judge threw out the man's requests and said his arguments were not valid enough to bring to trial. That decision was overturned by a United States Circuit Court of Appeals. The tribe and Justice Department then appealed that decision to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on the matter by the end of the summer.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "Justice debating trial casino lawsuit," Jesse J. Holland, April 24, 2012

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