U.S. Supreme Court Will Not Hear Skywalk Appeal

December 16, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear an appeal from the Nevada developer who built the Grand Canyon Skywalk on the Hualapai Reservation in northwestern Arizona.

The court declined to hear an appeal from lawyers for the late Las Vegas businessman David Jin, who built the horseshoe-shaped glass outcropping that opened in 2007. Jin invested $30 million to build the Skywalk, but he and the tribe have disagreed on management fees and on completion of a visitor’s center.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco sided with the tribe, which said the Skywalk is governed by tribal law. Jin’s attorneys said the tribal court system lacks authority to hear the case. The Supreme Court has decided not to review the appellate court decision.       

The Hualapai Tribe created an eminent domain law, passing it in April of 2011. It then used that law to nullify Jin’s Management and Development Agreement for the Skywalk which was signed in 2003. In February of 2012, tribal leaders forced their way into the Skywalk facilities and seized operations, while forcing Jin’s management company out.

An arbitrator ruled in August of 2012 the tribe owed Jin $28.5 million, after failing to pay him management fees from 2008 to 2011.