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.…

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

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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.