Oglala Sioux Tribe Files Second Amended Complaint Against Whiteclay Retailers, Distributors and Retailers

Alleges Defendants Have Created Public and Private Nuisances Inside the Pine Ridge

LINCOLN, Neb. – (NEWS RELEASE: Apr. 2, 2012) – Attorney Tom White, legal counsel for the Oglala Sioux Tribe, has filed a second amended complaint in the Tribe’s lawsuit against the brewers, retailers and distributors of beer sold in Whiteclay, Nebraska.

The second amended complaint, filed Friday March 23 in Federal Court in Lincoln, adds to previous allegations that actions of the defendants have created public and private nuisances inside the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation “by endangering and injuring the property, health, safety and comfort of a considerable number of individual members of the OST” and seeks injunctive relief and money damages. The sale, possession and consumption of alcohol is illegal on the Pine Ridge, where many tribal members suffer from crippling poverty and alcoholism.

In its fourth cause of action (Public Nuisance), the second amended complaint states: “The actions of Defendants have created at public nuisance inside the Pine Ridge Reservation by interfering with the safe and unimpeded use of the streets, sidewalks and other public spaces by the members of the Oglala Tribe living in or visiting the Pine Ridge Reservation. Such interference includes, but is not limited to, public intoxication, driving of automobiles while under the influence of alcohol and a wide variety of crimes committed by intoxicated persons in public spaces in the Pine Ridge Reservation.”

The second amended complaint goes on to state, in its fifth cause of action (Private Nuisance): “The actions of the Defendants as previously alleged have interfered with the use and enjoyment of the that land including, but not limited to, the ability to develop and enhance the value of that land. As a result, the value of the land owned by the OST is depressed due to the illegal unreasonable conditions created by the Defendants.”

The original complaint, filed Feb. 9, charges that the defendants are engaged in a common enterprise focused on assisting and participating in the illegal importation of alcohol sold at Whiteclay onto the Pine Ridge Reservation, and seeks unspecified money damages. The first amended complaint, filed Feb. 17, requests injunctive relief in “the form of an Order limiting the total volume of beer sold by the Defendants out of Whiteclay stores to an amount that can reasonably be consumed in accordance with the laws of the State of Nebraska and the OST.”

Whiteclay, which lies less than 250 feet from the Pine Ridge Reservation border, has fewer than a dozen residents and four retail stores licensed by the State of Nebraska to sell beer. According to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission in 2010 these stores sold the equivalent of 4.9 million 12-ounce servings of beer—or over 13,000 cans a day.

Defendants remain as named in the original complaint filed February 9 and the amended complaint filed February 17:

Anheuser-Busch InBev Worldwide, Inc.

SAB Miller d/b/a Miller Brewing Company

Molson Coors Brewing Company

Miller Coors, LLC

Pabst Brewing Company

Pivo, Inc. d/b/a High Plains Budweiser

Dietrich Distributing Co., Inc.

Arrowhead Distributing, Inc.

Coors Distributing of West Nebraska d/b/a Coors of West Nebraska

Jason Schwarting d/b/a Arrowhead Inn, Inc. (Whiteclay, Neb.)

Sanford Holdings, LLC d/b/a D&S Pioneer Service (Whiteclay, Neb.)

Stuart Kozal d/b/a/ Jumping Eagle Inn (Whiteclay, Neb.)

Clay Brehmer and Daniel Brehmer d/b/a State Line Liquor (Whiteclay, Neb.)

A copy of the second amended complaint is available here: Whiteclay Amended Second Complaint.

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Mark Vasina, President, Nebraskans for Peace, 402-890-6958

Thomas White, White & Jorgensen Law Offices, 402-346-5700

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