In what could become a first-in-the-nation test, a young Waterford, Conn., woman injured by a drunk driver is challenging the sovereignty of Connecticut’s Mohegan American Indian tribe. She is arguing the tribe should be liable in state courts if it lets patrons get so dangerously drunk that they then injure or kill other people.

Currently, the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes are immune from being sued in state court for ordinary negligence matters, including so-called “dram shop act” violations. Those violations can cost a bar up to $250,000 if patrons are permitted to get too intoxicated and harm others.

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