Tribal judge's verdict against Sault Tribe is upheld on appeal
Kandra Robbins was employed by the Sault Tribe from 1992 until she offered her resignation on January 31, 2006. She had progressed from employment as a clerk to Tribal Attorney, and eventually to Tribal Chief Judge. She was an at-will employee until 2002, when she and the tribe executed a two-year contract with a severance payment upon premature termination. In January of 2006 when she submitted her resignation, effective in February, the Tribal Chairman peremptorily removed her from her office on tribal land, over her objections. She then filed suit, claiming the severance payment.
After a trial on the merits, the jury awarded Robbins the severance payment amount in the contract and the Tribe appealed. The Court of Appeals rejected the Tribe's claim that there was no binding contract and also ruled that the verdict should be upheld where the facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the prevailing party.