Florida Appeals Court Rules That Indian Tribe Not Liable in Crash Death

July 8, 2014

An appeals court has ruled that a South Florida Indian tribe cannot be held liable for a $4.1 million wrongful death judgment stemming from a fatal 1998 car crash.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal decided last week that the Miccosukee tribe cannot be forced to pay for the actions of its members, even though the tribe paid the members’ legal costs.

A lower court judge had previously ordered the tribe to pay Carlos Bermudez and his son for the crash that killed 30-year-old Liliana Bermudez.

Investigators said Miccosukee tribe member Tammy Gwen Billie had drugs in her system when the car crash happened. The car was owned by tribe member Jimmie Bert. Bermudez won a jury verdict against both, but they have maintained they have no assets.

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