Michael McBride III is a trial, appellate and business lawyer with two decades of experience. He is a sought-after and trusted advisor with extensive experience in gaming, federal Indian law, litigation and complex transactions. Michael has tried more than 50 cases to conclusion in federal, tribal and state courts including numerous jury trials; as a Judge and Justice, he has adjudicated scores more and authored many published decisions. He excels in gaming regulatory matters, bet-the-tribe litigation, tribal government matters, economic development and regulatory matters. Corporations, investment funds and individuals have hired him as a consultant and as an expert witness in multiple federal state court cases to testify on Indian gaming matters.
He chairs Crowe & Dunlevy’s Indian Law & Gaming Practice Group. Michael's professional peers have recognized him Chambers USA (2009-2012) in Band 1 for Native American law and was named a Star Individual (2013-2017), the highest individual ranking awarded by Chambers given to lawyers with exceptional recommendations in their field.* Michael has also been named in Oklahoma Super Lawyers for Indian law, gaming, political law and business litigation.* He is also recognized by Best Lawyers for Native American and gaming law and is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell.*
Michael currently serves as attorney general of the Seminole Nation. He served as justice of the Pawnee Nation Supreme Court from 2003 until 2012. He is the former attorney general to the Sac and Fox Nation. During his career, Michael has represented more than 20 Indian tribal governments or their entities, numerous corporations and individuals doing business with tribes. He is one of only two Oklahoma general members of the International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL) and serves as the exclusive organization’s second executive vice president. IMGL President Tony Coles of London recognized Michael's outstanding accomplishments with the President's Cup Award in Vienna, Austria, in September 2011.
Active in the legal industry, Michael chaired the Federal Bar Association's (FBA) Indian Law Section, the largest Indian law organization in the country from 2006 to 2008. In September 2008, the FBA named McBride as general counsel on the organization's national Board of Directors. The FBA has recognized Michael with a number of awards including an Indian Law Section Distinguished Service Award in 2009, Outstanding Section Chair Award in 2007 & 2008, as well as several service awards over the last decade. The three Inns in Tulsa of the American Inns of Court has also honored Michael with the John S. Athens Award for leadership and ethics.
Michael regularly speaks at conferences and symposia throughout the country and internationally and has authored more than fifty published articles. He has served as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Tulsa and adjunct settlement judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma. Michael has also held various leadership roles in the American Bar Association. He is a graduate of Trinity University (B.A. 1989) and the University of Oklahoma (J.D. 1993), where he received many awards and academic distinctions.
Gaming management agreements, multimillion dollar loan transactions, restructured loans, economic development and joint venture agreements, operating agreements, gaming leases, guaranty and indemnity agreements, revenue allocation plans, children's and minor trusts, corporation codes, uniform commercial codes, court codes and procedures, agreements relative to sacred sites and historic places, tribal/state gaming, tobacco and law enforcement compacts.
Career Litigation Highlights**:
- Victory in protecting Comanche Nation’s constitution - Michael and his team obtained the successful dismissal of legal actions against Comanche Nation officials by dissolving temporary injunctions and achieving dismissal of contempt of court motions brought by former officials removed from office pursuant to the constitution (June 2012). He helped restore normal government operations, social service programs and millions of dollars in funding for those services. In re: Recognition of Comanche Nation Business Committee, Tribal Administrator, Comanche Nation, CIV-12-054 (CIO Comanche)
- Gaming finance dispute victory - He won a $2 million judgment for breach of contract and fraud for the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma against a financial services company and its principals involving casino financing (May 2012). Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma v. William Morris Financial Services, LLC, CJ-12-50 (Ottawa Co., OK—Judge Haney)
- Victory in protecting tribe’s sovereignty and attack on contract - Michael and Crowe & Dunlevy attorneys successfully defended the tribal sovereignty of one tribe, and enjoined another tribal court’s efforts to violate the first tribe's limited conferral of jurisdiction. They also defeated the tribal court’s attempted collateral attack on the contract between the first tribe and its lawyers. Crowe v. Stidham, 640 F.3d 1140 (10th Cir. 2011); affirming 609 F.Supp.2d 1211 (N.D. Okla. 2009--Judge Kern)
- Gaming compact/jurisdiction victories - Michael obtained a gaming compact arbitration award for Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma against the State of Oklahoma regarding the lack of state court jurisdiction over tribal casino tort and prize claims. Enforcement of that award in United States District Court against Oklahoma, its Governor and all its courts including a then-pending tort claim case in Ottawa County, Oklahoma state court that refused to recognize the tribe’s immunity and the lack of state court jurisdiction. Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma v. State of Oklahoma, et. al., CIV-10-459-W (W.D. Okla.—Sr. Judge West)
- Gaming Management Court Victory - Michael obtained a $1.5 million judgment for our client in tribal court. The gaming company and the tribe settled the dispute on appeal for $1.15 million. Epic Gaming L.L.C. et. al. v. Kickapoo Tribe of OK, CIV-09-17 (D. Kickapoo)
- Gaming dispute victories in tribal and federal forums - Michael helped win dismissal of $8+ million in claims, affirmed on appeal, in favor of our client the Sac and Fox Nation brought in 2005 by a gaming manager/equipment provider suing for lost profits under an unlawful gaming device equipment lease. The tribal courts and the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) held that the lease constituted a management agreement, not approved by the NIGC as required by the IGRA, therefore the lease was void. Accordingly, a waiver of sovereign immunity was also void. Sac and Fox Nation and Sac and Fox Nation Business Enterprise, Case No. CIV-05-01 (D. Sac & Fox); New Gaming Systems, Inc., v. Hon. Darrell Dowty, et. al., No. APL-07-02 (Sac & Fox). The gaming company sued the NIGC, its commissioners and our clients in federal court to challenge the NIGC's determinations. The federal action was stayed pending a final determination in the tribal Supreme Court. After the tribal Supreme Court affirmed the lower court ruling against NGS, the federal court action resumed. The federal lawsuit appealing the NIGC's ruling is still pending and is on consideration of the United States' motion for summary judgment. New Gaming Systems, Inc. v. New Gaming Systems, Inc. v. National Indian Gaming Commission et. al., No. 08-CV-00698-HE (U.S. Dist. Ct., W. D. Okla.)
- Sovereign Immunity Briefing in the U.S. Supreme Court - Michael was counsel of record for the Seminole Nation and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation as amici curiae in Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma v. Manufacturing Technologies, Inc., No. 96-1037 (certiorari granted, June 27, 1997, attended oral argument, January 12, 1998; reversed in favor of Kiowa Tribe, 523 U.S. 751 (1998)); Brief Amici Curiae, 1997 WL 528601
- Civil Rights verdict - Michael and his partner successfully enforced the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment prohibiting warrentless seizures in a suit against the Osage County Sherriff’s Department and County Commissioners and policy allowing for law enforcement involvement in multiple seizures of horses. The victories included obtaining a jury verdict in federal court including compensatory and punitive damages, court-awarded attorney’s fees, as well as successfully defending qualified immunity challenges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Big Elk v. Kastning, et. al. No. 96-CV-87 (N.D. Okla.—Sr. Judge Brett); Big Elk v. Kastning, et. al. 141 F.3d 1184, 1998 WL 161053 (unpublished, 10th Cir. 1998)
- Rare Per Curium reversal of a divorce judgment - In his very first appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Michael won a reversal and remand of a divorce judgment against his client. Maldonado v. Maldonado, DF-84845 (Okla. 1996)
- Criminal jury trial victory - In his very first jury trial, Michael, trying the case by himself, won a mistrial for his client facing multiple felony charges based on a hung jury. State of Oklahoma v. Offord, CF-1995-2223 (Tulsa Co.—Judge Hopper)
*Crowe & Dunlevy has no input in the rating methodologies used by Chambers USA, Oklahoma Super Lawyers or Best Lawyers.
**Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its merits.
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