David Giampetroni

undefinedDavid Giampetroni“Brilliant.”

“David is super thoughtful.”

– Chambers USA



David Giampetroni became a member of Kanji & Katzen in January 2014.  He joined Kanji & Katzen as an associate in 2006 and became Of-Counsel to the firm in 2012.  David works in the Ann Arbor office and may be contacted at dgiampetroni@kanjikatzen.com.**

Education:  David earned his B.A. degree from Indiana University in Bloomington in 1988 and from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with an M.S. degree in Land Resources in 1993, with a focus on environmental planning and land and water use policy.  While pursuing his Master’s degree at Wisconsin he was also awarded an Alumni Research Foundation Fellowship.  David received his J.D. from Indiana University in Bloomington, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, in 2004, where he was Managing Editor of the Indiana Law Journal.

Prior Experience:  Before joining Kanji & Katzen, from 2004 through 2006, David served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable David F. Hamilton, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Indiana, now with the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Experience & Areas of Concentration: David serves as the Managing Attorney of Kanji & Katzen and maintains a full-time litigation practice on behalf of tribal governments in federal, state, and tribal courts.  His practice centers on defending tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction from challenges by states and other entities or individuals; the vindication of tribal treaty rights, including fishing, land and reservation rights, with emphasis on translating complex historical records into compelling legal narratives; the defense of tribal rights in disputes with states over class III gaming compacts under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act; and the protection of tribal natural resources, including disputes with operators of energy infrastructure such as pipelines on tribal lands.

Tribal Sovereignty & Jurisdiction

  • Spurr v. Pope, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 25526, __ F.3d __ (6th 2019) (first federal appeals court to uphold tribal court jurisdiction to issue civil protection orders against non-Indians under the 2013 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act).
  • Kelsey v. Pope, 809 F.3d 849 (6th 2016), cert. denied, 136 S. Ct. 183 (first federal court to recognize that tribal sovereignty includes criminal jurisdiction over tribal members for conduct beyond Indian country boundaries).

Land Claims & Reservation Boundaries

  • Murphy v. Royal, 866 F.3d 1164 (10th Cir. 2017) (affirming legal validity of Creek Nation’s 1866 reservation boundaries), granted Carpenter v. Murphy, S. Ct. No. 17-1107 (re-argument pending).
  • Representation of Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians regarding loss of reservation lands guaranteed under 1855 treaty.

Treaty Rights

  • United States v. Michigan, 471 F. Supp. 192 (W.D. Mich. 1979) (represent Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in trilateral negotiations among tribal, state, and federal entities regarding Great Lakes fishing rights under 1836 treaty).
  • Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians v. Enbridge, Inc. et al., Case No. 3:19-cv-602) (W.D. Wisc., filed July 23, 2019) (seeking injunction requiring decommissioning of crude oil pipeline from tribal lands based on Band’s treaty rights to fish, hunt, and gather on reservation, among other claims).
  • Representation of Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and frequent consultation with other tribes relating to the “Line 5” pipeline in Michigan and its implications for tribal treaty fishing rights.


  • Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County v. Chaudhuri, 802 F.3d 267 (2nd Cir. 2015), denied 136 S. Ct. 2387 (upholding legality of Seneca Nation casino against lawsuits by anti-gaming groups challenging gaming-eligible status of Nation lands).
  • Regular representation of tribes in disputes with states under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, including class III game classifications, state violations of gaming exclusivity rights and revenue-sharing agreements, and establishing the gaming eligibility of tribal lands.

Tribal Governance, Laws, & Courts

  • LTBB Tribal Court v. Beck, 17-105818 (Mich. Cir. Ct. 2018) (first Michigan court to enforce tribal court decision under state full faith and credit statute).
  • Frequent consultation with tribes on membership ordinances, tribal criminal and civil code drafting and revisions, analysis and revisions of tribal court rules, and federal laws relating to tribal court jurisdiction over non-Indians.

Personal Interests:

David has two grown sons and lives on a farm in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  He enjoys fly fishing, furniture making, and home construction and remodeling.  His non-legal reading interests include politics, neuroscience and American history.

Bar Memberships:

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Courts of Appeals for the 6th, 9th, 10th and D.C. Circuits
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma
  • Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
  • Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan
  • Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
  • Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians
  • Michigan State Bar Association


  • Reflections on McGirt v. Oklahoma: A Case Team Perspective, 56 Tulsa L. Rev. 387 (2021) (with Riyaz Kanji and Philip Tinker).
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