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Following Supreme Court Decision on Whiteclay Beer Stores Those Involved Reflect and Look Forward to a Better Future

Frank and Dave

The long fight against the Whiteclay Beer Stores came to an exciting end on Friday, September 29 when the state’s highest court ruled in favor of the stores’ opponents.

The Nebraska Supreme Court unanimously rejected the owners of the stores’ bid to reopen. Although the appeal itself centered on highly technical legal grounds, the history of alcoholism that plagues the nearby Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and the dangers flowing from inadequate law enforcement in the unincorporated village, loomed large.

After the win, attorney David Domina said that this case is the most important he’s ever handled – and that’s no small statement.

"That [case] was about money,” Domina said about the $1.28 billion jury verdict he secured in a price-fixing case against Tyson Foods, which was later overturned by a judge. “This was about people… Today’s Nebraska Supreme Court decision means that the shame of Whiteclay is over. It also means huge rocks have been removed from the road to recovery for many of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Nation and the Pine Ridge Reservation.”

The news of Domina’s victory in front of the Nebraska Supreme Court quickly spread. In Esquire, Charles Pierce, who called Dave “a terrific lawyer”, wrote that,

“The capacity of human greed to capitalize on human desperation and human weakness may well have no better illustration than it has in Whiteclay, unless, of course, you’re talking about Eric Eyre’s Pulitzer-winning study of how the pharmaceutical companies poured 780 million opioid pills into West Virginia over six years. The dynamics are the same. Make your big money where the big misery is.”

While the battle against alcoholism won’t be settled with a single court decision, this victory undoubtedly helps the Oglala Lakota Sioux living on the Pine Ridge Reservation keep pressing forward towards a better future.

"The Lakota people, we've never won anything. This is a major victory for us — kind of our first big win,” said Bryan Brewer, a formal tribal president. “We are very pleased up here… We're very happy with their decision, and hopefully we can start the healing process for our people, especially our children."

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