Sovereign Immunity

July 23rd, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Sovereign Immunity

SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY-POLITICAL SUBDIVISION TORT CLAIMS ACT-EXCPETIONS-VEHICLES-FIREMEN'S PUMP TRUCK Podejko v. Department of Transportation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 2020 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 603 (July 27, 2020) Covey, J.  Pursuant to Balentine v. Chester Water Authority, 191 A.3d 799 (Pa. 2018), the transporting of firefighters to Route 6 and the proper parking of the pump or truck on Route 6 did not end the fire department’s “operation” of the pumper truck.  The firefighters activated the part of the pump or truck system that removed water from Route 6 and directed the water into the plaza drains.  The trial court’s interpretation that the pumper truck’s operation is limited to decisions transporting an individual from one place to another is too narrow.  Based upon Balentine, the courts cannot ignore the purpose for which the vehicle is operated.  “Here, the purpose of the Fire Department’s Pumper Truck was not only to transport firefighters to where they were needed, but its parts were also expressly designed to disperse water onto fires or, in this case, to remove flood waters. Because the Fire Department controlled the parts of the Pumper Truck that removed the water from…

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.