News reporters were absent from the courtroom last Friday when a Canada-based natural resource extraction company continued its aggressive attack on the jurisdictional reach of the Shoshone and Arapaho Tribal Court.
Encana Corporation has asked the federal court in Cheyenne to bar tribal court Chief Judge John St. Clair from hearing a tort lawsuit in which Encana is a defendant. Judge St. Clair earlier issued an opinion confirming tribal court jurisdiction in the matter.
Encana has also taken the extraordinary step of asking the federal court for a preliminary injunction to bar the tribal judge from hearing the case before the federal court even considers the underlying jurisdictional matter.
Reporters also missed the chance to report inflammatory quotes at the hearing by Encana’s lawyer in the federal lawsuit, former U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado Troy A. Eid. Eid insisted that Encana was caught in the “purgatory” of tribal court and thereby forced to forfeit its rights. These disrespectful (and inaccurate) remarks were perhaps surprising since Eid serves as an adjunct professor of Federal Indian Law at the University of Colorado School of Law and should know better.
The Casper Star-Tribune broke the story about Encana’s federal lawsuit against the judge. Nobody followed up on Friday.
To be fair, most reporters in the capitol are covering the ongoing legislative session, so their absence from the hearing was not unexpected. Luckily for them, the hearing was continued and will resume later this week. We’ll see if anybody shows up to cover it.