Reggie Whitten and Michael Burrage filed lawsuits on behalf of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations in Oklahoma state court.1 The actions are similar to the declaratory judgment actions filed by John Houghtaling in Louisiana and California. I do not see how the Oklahoma cases are going to be removed to federal court because they lack diversity of citizenship for such jurisdiction.

Reggie Whitten is an excellent attorney and well known to our law firm. Merlin Law Group attorney Drew Houghton worked with him and has high praise for his abilities. This is a little biography about Reggie:

Reggie Whitten is Co-Founder of Whitten Burrage. In 2013, Reggie was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, and in 2015, the University of Oklahoma inducted him into the Order of the Owl College of Law Hall of Fame and later that year presented Reggie with an honorary degree for his contributions to the university, state and nation. Reggie has been inducted into the prestigious fellowship of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

In 2008, Reggie and his law partner Michael Burrage obtained one of the largest verdicts in the United States, Burgess v. Farmers Insurance Co. It is believed to be the largest verdict in State of Oklahoma history.

The trend has been to bring these first actions as declaratory judgments. It will be interesting to see how fast they proceed and in what direction once the insurance companies begin their defense which I predict will begin with motions to dismiss.

Thought For Monday Afternoon

I’ve always been interested in the history of the West, our country and particularly as it relates to the Native Americans – the original Americans.
—Beau Bridges
1 Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma v. Lexington Ins. Co., et al., No CV-20-42 (Okla. Dist. Ct. – Bryan County, Petition filed Mar. 24, 2020); Chickasaw Nation Dept. of Commerce v. Lexington Ins. Co., et al., No. CV-2020-00035 (Okla. Dist. Ct. – Pontotoc County, Petition filed Mar. 24, 2020).