Skywalk lawsuit tossed by judge

KINGMAN - A federal judge has dismissed Skywalk developer David Jin's case to prevent the Hualapai Tribe from taking over the Grand Canyon attraction by eminent domain.

Judge David Campbell dismissed the case without prejudice on Thursday, saying that Jin needed to exhaust all of his options in the Hualapai tribal court first before he could bring it back to the federal court.

Jin filed a suit in the Hualapai tribal court in February asking the court to order the tribe's Skywalk management company Sa' Nyu Wa into arbitration over the their differences. The disagreement is over the Skywalk, a $30 million, glass-bottomed bridge that juts out from the rim over the floor of the Grand Canyon, and its visitor center. Each side is claiming that the other is not upholding its part of the original contract.

"The Hualapai Tribal Council is pleased by Judge Campbell's decision to dismiss this baseless lawsuit. We hope the judge's ruling will convince Mr. Jin to stop disparaging the Hualapai people and filing lawsuits against the Tribe," Hualapai Tribal spokesman Dave Cieslak stated in an email.

"The federal judge dismissed the action before we were able to advise the court that the tribe's legal counsel has also sought dismissal of the case in tribal court," Jin's attorney Mark Tratos stated in an email. "It is our view that the tribe's lawyers are attempting to have the matter dismissed in both tribal and federal court so they have no judicial scrutiny as they attempt to seize Mr. Jin's management contract through eminent domain."

Tratos said he plans to file a motion for reconsideration in the federal court and ask for oral arguments before Campbell.

Both sides are due to meet in Kingman and Peach Springs this week to discuss their difference and report to the Hualapai tribal court on Thursday.