When Richard Geroux brought a long-term disability insurance underpayment complaint before the Tribal Court of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, L’Anse Reservation, Mich., the insurance companies involved, Assurant, Inc (Assurant) and Union Security Insurance Company (Union Security) immediately sought to remove his case to the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Northern Division. The insurance companies claimed that Geroux’s case fell under ERISA jurisdiction and should be considered in Federal Court.

What is at stake here? Whether the tribal court had jurisdiction. Geroux moved on August 8, 2008 to have his case sent back to tribal court, arguing that his complaint should be decided in tribal court. The Assurant and Union Security filed a counterclaim on August 21, 2008 seeking to move action to Federal Court. They also opposed Geroux’s motion to review the case at tribal council on August 25. In response, Geroux moved to dismiss Union Security’s counterclaim.

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