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February 26, 2015

The U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuitʹs tests for sovereign immunity


The U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuitʹs tests for sovereign immunity
Leitner v Westchester Community College, USCA, 2nd Circuit, 14-1042-cv

An adjunct professor employed by the Westchester Community College was terminated for allegedly making offensive comments in class. She sued, contending that the Community College violated her state and federal constitutional rights.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a federal district court’s denial of the Community College’s motion to dismiss the professor’s complaint on grounds that the college defendants were not entitled to sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment.

In a ruling that instructive in that it sets out the six factors considered, and the two-part test applied, by the Second Circuit when addressing a governmental entity’s claim of sovereign immunity, the court said that in this instance:

(1) a finding of sovereign immunity would not serve the twin aims of the Eleventh Amendment, as immunity would not further the states interest in preserving its treasury, nor would it protect the integrity of the state; and

(2) Westchester Community College is not an arm of the state entitled to sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
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