September 15th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Sovereign Immunity

Kirtz v. Trans Union LLC, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 23684 (3rd Cir. August 24, 2022) (Krause, C.J.)  There are profound implications to throwing open the doors to the United States Treasury, so before we do, we need to be sure that is what Congress intended. Here, the District Court dismissed Appellant Reginald Kirtz's lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture ("USDA") for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq, because it concluded the statute did not clearly waive the United States' sovereign immunity. The District Court was in good company, as the Courts of Appeals to have considered this issue are split down the middle, and until today, we had not yet spoken. But our best indicator of Congress's intent is the words that it chose, and in our view, the FCRA's plain text clearly and unambiguously authorizes suits for civil damages against the federal government. In reaching a contrary conclusion, the District Court relied on its determination that applying the FCRA's literal text would produce results that seem implausible.  That may be, but implausibility is not ambiguity, and where Congress has clearly expressed its intent, we may neither second-guess its…


May 16th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Sovereign Immunity

Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Found., 2022 U.S. LEXIS 2097, (S. Ct. April 21, 2022) (Kagan, J.)  Justice Kagan delivered the opinion of the Court. Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA), 28 U. S. C. §1602 et seq., a foreign state or instrumentality is amenable in specified circumstances to suit in an American court. In this case, the plaintiffs brought such a suit to recover expropriated property. The question presented is what choice-of-law rule the court should use to determine the applicable substantive law. The answer is: whatever choice-of-law rule the court would use if the defendant were not a foreign-state actor, but instead a private party. Here, that means applying the forum State’s choice-of-law rule, not a rule deriving from federal common law. At issue is the ownership of an Impressionist painting depicting a Paris streetscape: Camille Pissarro’s Rue Saint-Honoré in the Afternoon, Effect of Rain. Pissarro’s agent sold the painting in 1900 to Paul Cassirer, a member of a prominent German Jewish family owning an art gallery and publishing house. Some quarter century later, Lilly Cassirer inherited the painting and displayed it in her Berlin home.…

Sovereign Immunity

July 23rd, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Sovereign Immunity

APPEALS-COLLATERAL ORDER-SUMMARY JUDGMENT-SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY Brooks v. Ewing Cole, Inc., 2021 Pa. LEXIS 3612 (September 22, 2021) (Mundy, JJ.).  Trial court’s order denying summary judgment on sovereign immunity grounds is a collateral order appealable as a right under Rule 313.  Therefore, the Supreme Court reverses the Commonwealth Court and remands to the Commonwealth Court for further proceeding.  Immediate appellate review of the adverse decision on sovereign immunity under Rule 313 is the only means by which the Family Court may vindicate its rights in this case.  Appeal following final judgment does not adequately prevent the Family Court’s claim of sovereign immunity.  The claim involved in this case meets Rule 313’s collateral order doctrine.  This case arises out of personal injuries that Brooks allegedly sustained when she walked into an unmarked glass wall while she was attempting to exit the Family Court building in Philadelphia.  A lawsuit was begun, including Family Court as lessee of the building.  Obviously, sovereign immunity had been rejected by the lower court but an appeal should have been permitted. SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY-COMMONWEALTH IMMUNITY-EXCEPTIONS-REAL ESTATE Wise v. Huntingdon County Housing Development Corp., Docket No. 97 MAP 2019, 2021 Pa.…


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…


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.