Tribal Sovereign Immunity and Arbitration Agreements
The California Court of Appeal held that the Soboba Band of Luiseno, an Indian tribe, did not waive its sovereign immunity by agreeing to arbitrate. Accordingly, the court affirmed the denial of the plaintiff’s motion to compel arbitration.
California Parking Services contracted with the band to provide valet parking to the casino on the Soboba Reservation. The tribe terminated the contract after problems arose. CPS filed a motion to compel arbitration under the arbitration clause in the parties’ agreement. That agreement provided for the governing law to be Cal ifornia law, and “where applicable Tribal law and federal law.” It also provided for the American Arbitration Association’s Commercial Arbi tration Rules to ap ply, except for Rule 48(c), which deems that by agreeing to arbitrate under AAA rules, the parties consent to have a judgment entered in any federal or state court of jurisdiction.