Resolution No. 056-92
WHEREAS, the Grand Ronde Tribal Council, pursuant to Article III, Section I of the Tribal Constitution approved November 30, 1984 by the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Indian Affairs, is empowered to exercise all legislative and executive authority not specifically vested in the General Council of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon; and,
WHEREAS, the Constitution of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon, Article IV, mandates the establishment of a Tribal Court by Tribal Ordinance; and,
WHEREAS, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon Tribal Court is empowered by the Tribal Constitution and other Tribal Ordinances pertaining to the Tribal Court to exercise it's authority; and,
WHEREAS, the Tribal Court's authority extends to cases arising on the reservation and cases involving at least one member of the Tribe arising within six county service area.
WHEREAS, the Grand Ronde people have stated their desire to have the Tribal Court available for small claims cases; and,
WHEREAS, the Tribal Council has carefully reviewed the draft Small Claims Ordinance and is convinced it will best serve the community.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Grand Ronde Tribal Council approves the Small Claims Ordinance that will become effective August 20, 1993.
CERTIFICATION: The Tribal Council for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon adopted this resolution at a regularly scheduled meeting, with a quorum present as required by the Grand Ronde Constitution held on July 14, 1993, by a vote of 8 yes, 0no, and 0abstentions.
Mark Mercier, Tribal Chairman
Candy Robertson, Secretary
(a) Authority and Purpose: The purpose of this Ordinance is to grant authority to the Tribal Court to adjudicate over matters involving small claims.
(b) Definitions: For purposes of this Ordinance, the following definitions shall apply:
(c) Requirements For a Claim: A claim may be filed with the Tribal Court only when the following conditions are met.
(d) Time Limit on Actions: No claim may be filed more than one (1) year after the date that the plaintiff knew or should have known of the damage or injury that the claim is based on.
(e) Statement of What Can be Recovered:
(f) Filing a Claim With the Court Clerk; Content and Form: A case shall begin upon filing with the Court Clerk a verified claim in the form that the Court has prescribed. The plaintiff shall sign the claim and verify under oath that as of the date of its filing each requirement in Section (c) has been met. The claim shall contain the name and mailing address of the plaintiff and of the defendant, followed by a simple statement of the claim. This statement shall include the amount of the claim and the date the actions allegedly occurred. With the claim the plaintiff shall include their affidavit stating that they meet all of the requirements in Section (c) of this Ordinance, including the date that the damage or injury the claim is based on occurred.
(g) Notice; Content; service: Upon the filing of a claim, the Court Clerk shall issue a notice in the form prescribed by the court, directed at the defendant, and shall contain a copy of the claim. The Court shall serve the notice and claim upon the defendant by certified mail at the defendant's last known address. The envelope shall be marked "Deliver to Addressee Only" and "Return Receipt Requested", and the date on the return slip will serve as the date upon which the notice and claim were served on the defendant.
(h) Defendant's rights and liabilities: Within twenty-one (21) days after the defendant was served with the notice and the claim the defendant must either admit or deny the claim.
(i) Counterclaims: A defendant may make a counterclaim, on any claim that the defendant may have against the plaintiff and that arises out of the same transaction or occurence that is the subject matter of the claim filed by the plaintiff. The counterclaim must be filed with the Tribal Court Clerk within twenty-one (21) days after receiving the claim filed by the plaintiff. The Court Clerk will then serve the plaintiff with the counterclaim by certified mail at the plaintiff's last known address. The defendant is limited to recovery of the same amount, goods and services, as in section (e)
(j) Hearing: If a defendant demands a hearing the Court Clerk shall mail to the parties notice of the hearing, In the notice of the hearing, the Court Clerk shall instruct the parties that they need to bring witnesses, documents, and other evidence pertinent to the controversy. If a counterclaim was filed by the defendant, the notice of hearing shall be accompanied by such counterclaim. No formal pleading other than the claim shall be necessary. The hearing will be informal and only the parties and their witnesses, and spokespersons who appear at no charge and are immediate family members of a party, will be allowed to address the court.
(k) No Attorneys: Notwithstanding any provision of tribal law to the contrary, attorneys are not permitted to represent or advise a party in a small claims court case.
(l) Time Extension: If one of the two parties wishes to extend the time, in order to make formal appearances to the Court, the party must file a written request with the court. The requested extension can be no longer than thirty (30) days. The Court may only grant one extension per party.
(m) Default: If the defendant fails to pay the claim, demand a hearing, or show up for the hearing, upon written request from the plaintiff, the clerk shall enter a judgment against the defendant for the relief claimed plus the amount of the small claims filing fees and service expenses paid by the plaintiff. If the plaintiff fails to show up for the hearing, upon written request from the defendant, the Clerk shall dismiss the case, or if a counterclaim has been filed, enter a judgment for the amount of the claim plus fees and service expenses paid by the defendant. A default judgment may not be entered for failure to appear at the hearing through no fault of the party who failed to appear.
(n) Final Judgment as Final Decree: When entered, the final judgment shall document a final decree of the rights and obligations of both parties regarding the claims and counterclaims made by the plaintiff and the defendant. The judgment will remain valid for seven years.
(o) Action/Petition to Set Aside Final Judgment:
(p) Applicable Law: The Court in resolving claims under this Ordinance will use the substantive law of the State of Oregon unless that law conflicts with the law of the Tribe, In the event of conflict, Tribal law will govern.
(q) Brochure Describing Proceedings; Content, Form and Distribution: The Court shall develop and print a brochure describing the requirements, nature and effect of the proceedings. The brochure shall be distributed by the Court and shall state in clear English the following:
(r) Fees: The Court shall collect a fee from the plaintiff for filing a claim, a fee from the defendant if a counterclaim is filed, and also from the defendant a fee for requesting a hearing with the Tribal Court. This fee will cover the cost of the court's time and the distribution of the brochure, and other costs the Court may incur in processing the case. The amount of the fees shall be set by the Judge and approved by a resolution of the Tribal Council.
(s) Sovereign Immunity: This Ordinance shall not waive the sovereign immunity of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon, except as to counterclaims against the Tribe when the Tribe is a plaintiff in a case brought under this Ordinance.
(t) Fiscal Office Authority: This Ordinance shall not be construed to reduce the authority of the Tribe's Fiscal Office to
I certify this to be a true copy of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon Small Claims Ordinance.