U.S. District Court Judge William M. Skretny today dismissed a lawsuit filed in 2006 aimed at blocking the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.
Judge Skretny, ruling in Buffalo, dismissed Warren v. United States, a case that was still in arguments with motions pending since 2009. Defendants were the United States, the State of New York, the Seneca Nation and the Seneca Gaming Corp.
This case involved a challenge by plaintiff Daniel Warren to the Nation’s gaming activities at Buffalo Creek, with him alleging that: the U.S. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was unconstitutional; the Nation’s gaming compact with New York State was invalid; New York law authorizing Gov. George E. Pataki to sign the compact in 2001, opening the way for Nation casinos in Western New York, was unconstitutional; and, the United States violated its trust obligations to Indians in allowing gaming to occur at Buffalo Creek.
The Nation participated as a friend of the court, urging dismissal of the plaintiff’s case, with good results.
“This affirmative ruling benefits the Seneca Nation and its Buffalo Creek Casino, and justifies our confidence in the Nation’s approach to our business in downtown Buffalo,” said Nation President Robert Odawi Porter.
In dismissing Warren’s case, Judge Skretny found jurisdiction lacking for the court to entertain the claims on a variety of grounds, and also confirmed that the Nation and Seneca Gaming Corp. are immune from this sort of lawsuit.
It is unclear what effect, if any, this decision might have on another lawsuit involving Buffalo Creek filed by Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County against the United States, which remains pending. That case does not involve the Seneca Nation, although it would be affected by the decision.