Nev. Dep't of Human Res. v. Hibbs

Nev. Dep't of Human Res. v. Hibbs

Supreme Court of the United States

January 15, 2003, Argued ; May 27, 2003, Decided

No. 01-1368


 [***961]  [**1976]  [*724]    Chief Justice Rehnquist delivered the opinion of the Court.

LEdHN[1A][] [1A]HN1[] The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA or Act) entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave annually for any of several reasons, including the onset of a "serious health condition" in an employee's spouse, child, or parent. 107 Stat 9, 29 U.S.C. § 2612(a)(1)(C) [29 USCS § 2612(a)(1)(C)]. The Act creates a private right of action to seek both equitable relief and money damages "against any employer (including a public agency) in any Federal or State court of competent jurisdiction," § 2617(a)(2), should that employer [*725]  "interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of" FMLA rights, § 2615(a)(1). We hold that HN2[] employees of the State of Nevada may recover money damages in the event of the State's failure to comply with the family-care provision of the Act.

Petitioners [****8]  include the Nevada Department of Human Resources (Department) and two of its officers. Respondent William Hibbs (hereinafter respondent) worked for the Department's Welfare Division. In April and May 1997, he sought leave under the FMLA to care for his ailing wife, who was recovering from a car accident and neck surgery. The Department granted his request for the full 12 weeks of FMLA leave and authorized him to use the leave intermittently as needed between May and December 1997. Respondent did so until August 5, 1997, after which he did not return to work. In October 1997, the Department informed respondent that he had exhausted his FMLA leave, that no further leave would be granted, and that he must report to work by November 12, 1997. Respondent failed to do so and was terminated.

Respondent sued petitioners in the United States District Court seeking damages and injunctive and declaratory relief for, inter alia, violations of 29 U.S.C. § 2612(a)(1)(C) [29 USCS § 2612(a)(1)(C)].  The District Court awarded petitioners summary judgment on the grounds that the FMLA claim was barred by the Eleventh Amendment and that respondent's Fourteenth Amendment rights had not been violated.  [****9]  Respondent appealed, and the United States intervened under 28 USC § 2403 [28 USCS § 2403] to defend the validity of the FMLA's application to the States. The Ninth Circuit reversed.  273 F.3d 844 (2001).

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538 U.S. 721 *; 123 S. Ct. 1972 **; 155 L. Ed. 2d 953 ***; 2003 U.S. LEXIS 4272 ****; 71 U.S.L.W. 4375; 148 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P34,704; 84 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P41,391; 2003 Cal. Daily Op. Service 4388; 8 Wage & Hour Cas. 2d (BNA) 1221; 2003 Daily Journal DAR 5569; 16 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 291


Subsequent History: Summary judgment granted by Hibbs v. Dep't of Human Res., 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30400 (D. Nev., Oct. 13, 2004)


Hibbs v. HDM Dep't of Human Res., 273 F.3d 844, 2001 U.S. App. LEXIS 26364 (9th Cir. Nev., 2001)

Disposition: Affirmed.

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Business & Corporate Compliance, Family & Medical Leaves, Scope & Definitions, Covered Employers, Labor & Employment Law, Leaves of Absence, Remedies, Civil Procedure, Remedies, Damages, Monetary Damages, International Trade Law, Dispute Resolution, International Commercial Arbitration, Arbitration, Labor & Employment Law, Family & Medical Leaves, General Overview, Serious Health Conditions, Governments, State & Territorial Governments, Employees & Officials, Constitutional Law, State Sovereign Immunity, Federal Government, Claims By & Against, Equal Protection, Nature & Scope of Protection, Discrimination, Age Discrimination, Federal & State Interrelationships, US Congress, Federal & State Interrelationships, State Immunity, Congressional Duties & Powers, Commerce Clause, The Judiciary, Jurisdiction, Substantive Due Process, Scope, Trials, Jury Trials, Province of Court & Jury, Separation of Powers, Bill of Rights, State Application, Gender & Sex, Legislation, Overbreadth, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, Elections, Civil Rights Law, Protection of Rights, Voting Rights, Preclearance, Employee Leave Requirements, Affirmative Defenses, Statute of Limitations, Statutory Construction, Extensions & Revivals, Time Limitations, Enactment