Peter is an award-winning litigator with a reputation for success in the courtroom. He represents a wide range of clients, including Indian tribes and their business partners, in disputes over commercial contracts, administrative actions, federal and state law, treaty rights, jurisdiction, and gaming. He also maintains an active practice in tribal courts, where he prosecutes child-welfare and adult-protection cases and handles general defense work for tribes.
Peter compliments his successful litigation practice with a robust transactional practice. He’s helped clients identify optimal business structures, drafted formation and governance documents, and provided compliance and risk assessment. He’s also represented clients in major finance transactions, corporate acquisitions, service and sale agreements, licensing agreements, and employment and consulting agreements. Peter uses the lessons he’s learned in court to help his clients build and run viable organizations, navigate federal, tribal, and state laws, and negotiate secure contractual relationships.
Before entering private practice, Peter served as a law clerk for the Honorable Heidi S. Schellhas with the Minnesota Court of Appeals. There he developed a unique understanding about how courts operate and how judges approach cases. He’s since built on that understanding by working side-by-side with judges and justices on the Minnesota Tribal Court/State Court Forum, which aims to better the relationships between tribal and state courts through education and collaboration. Peter employs his valuable insight into the court systems in every project he touches.
When he’s not practicing law, Peter enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife and sons and feeding his passion for golf, chess, piano, and hunting. You also might find him playing board games or out on the lake with family and friends.
Representative Indian-law experience:
- In re Coughlin, ___ Br. ___, 2020 WL 6140388 (Bank. D. Mass. 2020 – present). Successfully urged federal bankruptcy court to dismiss claim for violation of the automatic stay in a bankruptcy proceeding, arguing that the Bankruptcy Code does not abrogate tribal sovereign immunity.
- Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians v. Evers (W.D. Wis. 2018 – present). Representing numerous tribes and their members in suit to preclude state taxation of fee property in reservations.
- Jones v. Wildcat, No. 19-cv-2493-JS (E.D. Penn. 2019). Represented tribal official in civil action under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and state usury laws.
- Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians v. Snyder (W.D. Mich. 2015 – 2019). Represented the tribe in suit for recognition of treaty-defined reservation boundaries.
- Cieslack v. Easly, No. 17-2338 (PAM/SER), 2018 WL 2926502 (D. Minn. 2018). Successfully urged federal court to dismiss claims under the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act and state common law, arguing that the plaintiff failed to state a claim against the tribal defendants.
- In re Petition to Amend Rule 10 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice for the District Courts (Minn. 2016 – 2018). Successfully petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court to adopt a more robust rule for recognition of tribal court orders and judgments in state courts.
- Bruguier v. Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, 237 F. Supp. 3d 867 (W.D. Wis. 2017). Successfully urged a federal court to dismiss 15 Title-VII and state-law claims against the tribal defendants, arguing that the claims failed under the text of Title VII and case law and were barred by sovereign immunity.
- NLRB v. Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan (6th Cir. 2013 – 2016). Represented the tribe in defending against the improper assertion of agency authority over on-reservation gaming activities.
- Lac Courte Oreilles Indian Tribe et al. v. Wisconsin, 769 F.3d 543 (7th Cir. 2014), cert denied 135 S.Ct. 1842 (2015). Assisted in successfully urging a federal appellate court to reverse a district court decision upholding a 1991 judgment that prohibited the tribal plaintiffs from hunting deer at night, arguing that changed circumstances warranted an amendment to the judgment.
- Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 133 S. Ct. 2552 (2013). Assisted in representing amici curiae in briefing to the United States Supreme Court.
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- J.D. William Mitchell College of Law, 2014, summa cum laude
- M.Arch. North Dakota State University, 2009
- B.S. University of Minnesota, 2006
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
- Ho-Chunk Tribal Court
- Lac du Flambeau Tribal Court
- Lower Sioux Community in Minnesota Tribal Court
- Mille Lacs Band Court of Central Jurisdiction
- Oglala Sioux Tribal Court
- Prairie Island Tribal Court
- Sisseton Wahpeton Tribal Court
- Rising Star in Native American Law, Super Lawyers (2018 – 2020)
- Attorney of the Year, Minnesota Lawyer (2018)
- North Star Lawyer, Minnesota State Bar Association (2017)
- CALI Excellence for the Future Awardee: Advocacy (2013); Constitutional Law-Liberties (2013); Persuasive Legal Writing (2012); and Sales (2012)
Selected Publications & Presentations:
- Leveraging Tribal Court Judgments in Your Federal Practice, The Federal Lawyer (2020)
- Notes & Trends: Indian Law, Bench & Bar of Minnesota (2016 – 2019)
- Practicing Attorneys in Tribal Court, Mitchell Hamline School of Law (2018)
- Recognition & Enforcement of Tribal Court Orders & Judgments: Rule 10 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice, Minnesota CLE and Minnesota American Indian Bar Association (2017)
- The Digital Death Conundrum: How Federal and State Laws Prevent Fiduciaries from Managing Digital Property, 68 U. Miami L. Rev. 385 (2014)
Community & Professional Engagement:
- Alia, Board of Directors (2020)
- Minnesota American Indian Bar Association, Annual Golf Tournament Committee (2020)
- Federal Bar Association: Minnesota Chapter, Annual Golf Tournament Committee (2020)