Sovereign Immunity

July 23rd, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Sovereign Immunity

SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY-POLITICAL SUBDIVISION TORT CLAIMS ACT-BUILDING INSPECTOR EMPLOYMENT STATUS Oakes v. Richardson, 2020 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 530 (July 9, 2020) Wojcik, J.  Toddler fell in a swimming pool and died.  Lawsuit was brought against building inspector and it was claimed that he was an independent contractor not an employee.  The court found that he was a nontraditional employee. The township possessed the authority to direct and control the inspector’s duties fees and assign duties.  The township did not closely monitor the inspector’s duties because he was specialized.  It retained control by collecting fees, keeping a percentage, issuing payments to the inspector, making applications available to the public and directing the inspector to issue stop work orders of construction occurring without requisite building permits.  The inspector set his own prices, used his own forms and document schedule, review of plans and drawings, and met with those seeking building permits on his own and without township approval. SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY-ADVERSE POSSESSION-CITY OF PHILADELPHIA City of Philadelphia v. Galdo, No. 36 EAP 2018 (E.D. Pa. September 26, 2019) Baer, J. This appeal involves an ejectment action commenced by the City of Philadelphia (“City”) against…

SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY-INDEMNIFICATION

May 22nd, 2017 by Rieders Travis in Sovereign Immunity

Soverign Immunity and an Indemnification Clause Lewis v. Clarke, 2017 U.S. LEXIS 2796, 581 U.S. ___ (April 25, 2017) Sotomayor, J. We have never before had occasion to decide whether an indemnification clause is sufficient to extend a sovereign immunity defense to a suit against an employee in his individual capacity. We hold that an indemnification provision cannot, as a matter of law, extend sovereign immunity to individual employees who would otherwise not fall under its protective cloak. This case arose in the context of an Indian tribe with gaming authority. We have never before treated a lawsuit against an individual employee as one against a state instrumentality.  A civil rights suit under 1983 against a state officer in his official capacity does not implicate the Eleventh Amendment and a state’s sovereign immunity from suit.  Federal appellate courts that have considered the indemnity question have rejected the argument that an indemnity statute brings the Eleventh Amendment into play in 1983 actions. In sum, although tribal sovereign immunity is implicated when the suit is brought against individual officers in their official capacities, it is simply not present when the claim is…

SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY-MANDAMUS-DECLARATORY JUDGMENT ACTIONS-EMPLOYMENT

January 17th, 2017 by Rieders Travis in Sovereign Immunity

Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Brimmeier v. Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, 147 A.3d 954 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2016).  The law is clear that sovereign immunity does not bar either mandamus or declaratory judgment action.  Therefore, to the extent that the Commission objects to mandamus and/or declaratory judgment actions, their preliminary objections should have been overruled.  Claim of contract breach and promissory estoppel upon employment agreement are barred by sovereign immunity.  The Commission is immune from claim of intentional misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation claims.  PO’s to those claims should have been sustained.  Mandamus is not applicable in this particular case.  There is no claim under the Declaratory Judgment Act.  There is no viable breach of contract claim set forth.  Promissory estoppel was properly dismissed.