Cherokee Nation Claims Sovereign Immunity In Baby Veronica Legal Fee Dispute

Nov 7, 2013

Officials say the Cherokee Nation will argue that tribal sovereignty makes it immune from a request for $1 million in legal fees in a custody battle over a 4-year-old girl.

Dusten Brown with his daughter, Veronica, before her return to her adoptive parents in South Carolina.
Credit Cherokee Nation

Attorneys representing Matt and Melanie Capobianco filed the request for legal fees in the custody dispute over 4-year-old Veronica. The Capobiancos have custody after Veronica's biological father, Dusten Brown, dropped all legal proceedings.

Brown is a member of the Cherokee Nation.

Cherokee Nation Assistant Attorney General Chrissi Nimmo says the tribe should be immune from the demand for legal fees. Nimmo tells the Tulsa World that the request for fees seems to be "a warning to fathers and to tribes."

An attorney for the Capobiancos says lawyers on the prevailing side are entitled to their fees and expenses.