The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAMUEL CONTI, Senior District Judge
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF GUIDIVILLE BAND OF POMO INDIANS' MOTION
FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF NGV GAMING, LTD.'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
ORDER DISMISSING CASE NO. C 04-3955-SC, NGV GAMING, LTD. v.
UPSTREAM POINT MOLATE, LLC and HARRAH'S OPERATING COMPANY
Plaintiff NGV Gaming, Ltd. ("NGV") filed this action, Case No.
04-3955, against rival casino development groups Upstream Point
Molate, LLC and Harrah's Operating Company, Inc. ("Defendants")
alleging that Defendants tortiously interfered with NGV's contract with the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians ("the
The Tribe filed Case No. 05-01605 seeking declaratory and
injunctive relief against NGV on the grounds that the underlying
contracts are invalid. The two cases were consolidated.
The Tribe now moves for declaratory relief. Specifically, the
Tribe asks the Court to issue an order declaring the Agreements
to be invalid. NGV now moves for summary judgment.*fn1
For the reasons set forth below, the Court hereby GRANTS the
Tribe's motion for declaratory relief and DENIES NGV's motion for
summary judgment and DISMISSES Case No. 04-3955.
The burden of proving the requirements for declaratory relief
i.e., the existence of a dispute on a matter within federal court
subject matter jurisdiction rests on the party seeking
declaratory relief. State of Texas v. West Publishing Co.,
882 F.2d 171, 175 (5th Cir. 1989).
The burden of proof as to the substantive right involved rests
on whichever party holds the coercive claim the true plaintiff.
See Sanchez-Martinez v. I.N.S., 714 F.2d 72 (9th Cir. 1983). III. BACKGROUND
On July 3, 2002, the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians entered
into a series of contracts (the "Transaction Agreements" or the
"Agreements") with F.E.G.V. Corporation to develop and construct
a proposed gaming facility on restored trust land in Northern
California. Plaintiff NGV's Memorandum in Support of Opposition
to Motion for Summary Judgment at 3 ("Pl. NGV's Mem."). NGV is
the assignee of these contracts. Id. The Transaction Agreements
consist of the Development Agreement and Personal Property Lease
("Lease") and a Cash Management Agreement ("CMA"). Id. NGV was
obligated under the Transaction Agreements to assist the Tribe in
identifying and purchasing land in order to establish the trust
land base on which the gaming facility would eventually be built.
In January of 2004, Defendants began negotiating to purchase
354 acres of land from an outside entity for the purpose of
building a gaming facility. Id. at 4. According to NGV,
Defendants were aware of the existing contracts between NGV and
the Tribe, yet intended to put these lands into trust for the
Tribe and build a gaming facility for the Tribe to operate. Id.
On August 2, 2004, the Tribe sent a letter to NGV in which it
attempted to "rescind" the Transaction Agreements with NGV. Id.
at 6. NGV maintains that the reasons given for the rescission
were "entirely pretextual" and that the Tribe was induced to
terminate its agreements with NGV as a result of Defendants'
interference. Id. at 6. After termination of the contract, NGV filed its case, No.
04-3955, against Defendants, alleging tortious interference with
a valid contract. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss NGV's
complaint on the grounds that NGV failed to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted. The Court denied this motion and
granted the Tribe's motion to participate as an amicus curiae.
The Tribe filed Case No. 05-1605, seeking declaratory and
injunctive relief. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment
in Case No. 04-3955.
Under the standard cited above, the Court finds that the Tribe,
as the declaratory relief plaintiff, has established the
existence of a dispute on a matter within federal court subject
The Court further finds, under the above-stated standard, that
NGV is the true plaintiff because it is trying to establish that
the contracts are valid, therefore it possesses the "coercive"