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Courts upholds $28 million award in Skywalk case

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 11, 2013 at 9:40 pm •  Published: February 11, 2013

The tribe has said it took over the contract last year because Jin never completed a visitors' center that people must pass through to access the Skywalk and did not finance the utilities. Cieslak said the tribe would pay Jin the fair market value for the Skywalk to "protect the rights of the tribe and end this painful dispute."

Sa' Nyu Wa had asked Campbell to reject the arbitration award by arguing that the tribe's 2003 agreement with Jin didn't allow for financial damages. The corporation also argued tribal members never voted to waive liabilities in excess of $250,000, and said the arbitrator exceeded his powers because only a federal court could order arbitration.

Campbell said the agreement makes no mention of a $250,000 limit and allows arbitration for any controversy, claim or dispute when either party sends such a notice to the other. Campbell found that Sa' Nyu Wa clearly waived it sovereign immunity with respect to financial damages awarded in arbitration that could be enforced in federal court.

"No other reading of the agreement is plausible," the judge said.

Tratos said it's doubtful Jin will receive the $28.5 million in a lump sum but suggested the award could be fulfilled by having the proceeds of ticket sales at the Skywalk directed to Jin by a court order.

Jin also is challenging the jurisdiction of the Hualapai court in a related case that went before a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year. The Hualapai court in Peach Springs is overseeing the eminent domain case.