Tax Law

Over-Hall: U.S. Supreme Court Holds States Retain Sovereign Immunity from Private Suits in Other States, Overturning Nevada v. Hall

In a 5-to-4 decision, the US Supreme Court held that states retain sovereign immunity from private suits brought by individuals in courts of other states, and therefore, overruled its prior decision in Nevada v. Hall, 440 US 410 (1979). The decision arose from a longstanding dispute brought by an individual taxpayer against the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) alleging abusive audit and investigative practices. By overruling Hall, the court ultimately held that the FTB is immune from the individual’s suit in a Nevada court. Writing for the majority, the Court acknowledged that “[b]ecause of our decision to overrule Hall, [the individual taxpayer] unfortunately will suffer the loss of two decades of litigation expenses and a final judgment against the [FTB] for its egregious conduct.” (Franchise Tax Bd. of California v. Hyatt, No. 17-1299, ___ U.S. ___, (2019))