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C'Hair v. District Court of Ninth Judicial District

Supreme Court of Wyoming

August 26, 2015

GARY C'HAIR and ROCHELLE C'HAIR, Petitioners,
v.
DISTRICT COURT of the NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT, State of Wyoming, and JOHN STROHECKER, Respondents

Page 724

Original Proceeding. Petition for Writ of Review. From the District Court of Fremont County. The Honorable Norman E. Young, Judge.

Representing Petitioners: James C. Worthen and Andrew F. Sears of Murane & Bostwick, LLC, Casper, WY. Argument by Mr. Worthen.

Representing Respondent District Court of the Ninth Judicial District: No appearance.

Representing Respondent John Strohecker: Aaron J. Vincent of Vincent Law Office, Riverton, WY.

Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, KITE[*], DAVIS, and FOX, JJ. HILL, J.

OPINION

Page 725

HILL, Justice.

[¶1] Plaintiff, John Strohecker, a non-Indian, filed a complaint in state district court against Defendants, Gary C'Hair and Rochelle C'Hair, both enrolled members of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, for injuries sustained in a vehicle accident that occurred on Wyoming Highway 789 within the boundaries of the Wind River Indian Reservation. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment asserting that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because Defendants are members of the Northern Arapaho Tribe and the accident occurred on the reservation. Defendants also asserted that the two-year statute of limitations dictated by the Shoshone and Arapaho Law and Order Code should apply to bar Plaintiff's action. The district court denied Defendants' summary judgment motion, and Defendants filed a petition for writ of review in this Court. We granted the petition and now affirm the district court's decision.

ISSUES

[¶2] Defendants state the issues for our review as follows:

Issue 1 -- Does the Ninth Judicial District Court lack subject matter jurisdiction over [Defendants] Gary and Rochelle C'Hair pursuant to the case of State ex rel. Peterson v. Ninth Judicial District, 617 P.2d 1056 (Wyo. 1980)?
Issue 2 -- Are [Plaintiff] Strohecker's claims time barred pursuant to Wyoming Statute Section 1-3-117, Lex Loci Delicti and the Shoshone and Arapaho Law and Order ...

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