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Sovereign Immunity: How it Works

How Sovereign Immunity Works


ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY

6-Part Test


Available for:
  ✓ Administrative Law Judges
  ✓ Federal Hearing Examiners
  ✓ Federal Officials
  ✓ Federal Prosecutors
  ✓ Government Officials
  ✓ Grand Jurors
  ✓ Immigration Judges
  ✓ Law Clerk
  ✓ Parole Board
  ✓ Police Officers
  ✓ Postmaster General
  ✓ President's Cabinet
  ✓ School Board Members
  ✓ State Court Judges
  ✓ State Governor (+ aides)
  ✓ State Officials
  ✓ State Prison Officials
  ✓ State Prosecutors
  ✓ Testifying Witnesses
  ✓ US President
SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY

3-Part Test


Available for:
  ✓ 'Official Capacity' Lawsuits
  ✓ State-Wide Agencies

I. Definitions

Immunity
"right of exemption from a duty or penalty; benefit granted in exception to the general rule. Immunity from prosecution may be granted a witness to compel answers he or she might otherwise withhold because of the constitutional privilege to avoid self-incrimination."

II. Legal Citations

28 USC §1346 | United States as Defendant
"the district courts... shall have exclusive jurisdiction of civil actions on claims against the United States, for money damages, accruing on and after January 1, 1945, for injury or loss of property, or personal injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government while acting within the scope of his office or employment, under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable..." 42 USC §1983 | Civil Action for Deprivation of Rights
"Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia." 42 USC §2000d-7 | Civil Rights Remedies Equalization
(a) General provision
(1) A State shall not be immune under the Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution of the United States from suit in Federal court for a violation of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 [29 U.S.C. 794], title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 [20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.], the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 [42 U.S.C. 6101 et seq.], title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.], or the provisions of any other Federal statute prohibiting discrimination by recipients of Federal financial assistance.

Art I §6 US Constitution | Compensation
"[Congressmen] shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place." 11th Amendment US Constitution | Judicial Limits
"The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State." Section 5 14th Amendment US Constitution | Citizenship Rights
"5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article."

III. Case Law

# Case Comments
1Adams v FranklinUSALMD | 2000 | Injured Prisoner ; Undisclosed Capacity; Supervisor Liability
2Cleavinger v SaxnerUSSC | 1985 | Absolute Immunity vs Qualified Immunity
3Davis v New YorkCA05 | 1999 | Prisoner, 2nd-Hand Smoke; Standing; Conclusory; Sovereign Immnty
4Edelman v JordanUSSC | 1974 | Federally-funded, Retroactive Pay; Sovereign Immunity (deep)
5Melton v AbstonCA11 | 2016 | Prisoner, Broken Arm; Sovereign Immunity for some, but not all
6Pennhurst v HaldermanUSSC | 1984 | Mental Facility; Sovereign Immunity; Pendent Jurisdiction

IV. Quick Commentary

IV. Additional Resources

Congratulations! You're now booked up on how Sovereign Immunity works!

Please get the justice you deserve.

Sincerely,



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