Court oks case challenging gas tax compacts 

Aug 30, 2012

YAKIMA, Wash. — Washington's Supreme Court says a lawsuit challenging the state's gas tax compacts with American Indian tribes may proceed even though the tribes are not party to the lawsuit.

A trial court had dismissed the complaint because it failed to include the Indian tribes, which have immunity as sovereign nations. The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that that even though the tribes are necessary parties who cannot be party to the lawsuit, the case should still be considered.

The Automotive United Trades Organization filed the lawsuit, claiming the compacts give tribal retailers an unfair competitive advantage and enable tribal retailers to undercut nontribal retailers' fuel prices.

The trade group represents Washington gasoline and automotive service retailers.