Ruling: Casino employee can’t claim workers’ comp benefits

New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The state Supreme Court says at least some tribal casino workers injured on the job can’t receive New Mexico workers’ compensation benefits.

A ruling Thursday precludes an Isleta Pueblo casino employee who hurt her knee while working from bringing a claim against the pueblo or its insurer under the program.

Program administrators dismissed Gloria Mendoza’s claim, saying the pueblo can’t be sued in state court or administrative proceedings without its consent under the tribal sovereign immunity doctrine.

Thursday’s ruling says Mendoza’s claims can’t proceed because the pueblo isn’t part of the case and there’s no indication it ever agreed to participate in the program.

The decision cautions that its conclusions may not apply to all workers’ compensation cases involving tribes.

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