SAN DIEGO (AP) - A couple who claims they were bitten by bedbugs
in an Indian casino hotel is trying to have outside judges oversee their case after the matter was tied up in the tribal judicial system for three years.
Gloria and Robert Chisley went to the Barona Resort & Casino in Lakeside in August 2005. They say they were bitten in a bug attack
and are seeking compensation for the physical and psychological pain that Gloria Chisley says she still suffers.
"Most people don't realize that when you go to an Indian casino, it's like entering a foreign country where you have very few rights," said Chisley's attorney, LaToya S. Redd of Bonita.
As Indian casinos and hotels have become more popular, there has
been an increase in cases overseen by the tribal justice system.
The Chisleys claim the system is rigged against them, citing as evidence that the judge who heard their case was a tribal attorney.
Now the couple wants the 4th District Court of Appeal to oversee
Redd has so far been unsuccessful in getting the case into state court. Last year, Superior Court Judge Jan Goldsmith said the matter belongs in tribal court.
But after a ruling in a different case, which said the state system has a right to check tribal-system decisions for fairness, Redd is hoping to have the Goldsmith decision overridden.
The tribe disputes Gloria Chisley's claim she was bitten by bedbugs and suggested the marks on her skin were the result of scabies.
Doctors were split on the cause of her marks. One said they were
caused by bedbugs, two by scabies.
The tribe has shown statistics revealing about half the hotel guests and others who seek damages from the tribe have won their cases.
Chisley said bugs left more than 100 bites and scars all over her body and said she still suffers from itching and scabbing.
"This is the kind of ordeal you don't get over," she said.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)