New Mexico is home to many Indian Casinos. They are very popular. Like any other
business, particularly casinos, there are countless ways for patrons to be
injured. When a personal injury occurs at or near an Indian Casino, the first
and most important question is whether or not there is sovereign immunity
protecting the tribe or pueblo from suit in New Mexico State courts.
For the most part, tribes and pueblos enjoy sovereign immunity against any kind
of legal action. This includes everything from personal injury claims to
contract disputes. Sovereign immunity means that suits against the tribes or
pueblos must be brought in tribal court. This poses a very significant and often
overwhelming challenge to plaintiffs.
In case of Indian Casinos or gaming, there is qualified immunity. Under the
Indian Gaming Compact, the tribes and pueblos waive immunity for suits by
visitors or patrons for personal injuries suffered in relation to the gaming
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